Only 7% of American adults have good heart and metabolic health

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Scientists from Tufts University found that less than 7 percent of the U.S. adult population has good cardiometabolic health, a devastating health crisis requiring urgent action.

The research was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology and was conducted by Meghan O’Hearn et al.

In the study, researchers looked at a nationally representative sample of about 55,000 people aged 20 years or older from 1999 to 2018 from the 10 most recent cycles of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

They evaluated Americans across five components of health: levels of blood pressure, blood sugar, blood cholesterol, adiposity (overweight and obesity), and the presence or absence of cardiovascular disease (heart attack, stroke, etc.).

They found that only 6.8 percent of U.S. adults had optimal levels of all five components as of 2017-2018. Among these five components, trends between 1999 and 2018 also worsened significantly for adiposity and blood glucose.

In 1999, 1 out of 3 adults had optimal levels of adiposity (no overweight or obesity); that number decreased to 1 out of 4 by 2018.

Likewise, while 3 out of 5 adults didn’t have diabetes or prediabetes in 1999, fewer than 4 out of 10 adults were free of these conditions in 2018.

The team says these numbers are striking. It’s deeply problematic that in the United States, one of the wealthiest nations in the world, fewer than 1 in 15 adults have optimal cardiometabolic health.

Scientists need a complete overhaul of the healthcare system, food system, and built environment because this is a crisis for everyone, not just one segment of the population.

The researchers also identified large health disparities between people of different sexes, ages, races and ethnicities, and education levels.

The study also assessed “intermediate” levels of health—not optimal but not yet poor—including conditions like pre-diabetes, pre-hypertension, and overweight.

The team says the consequences of the dire state of health among U.S. adults reach beyond personal health.

Its impacts on national healthcare spending and the financial health of the entire economy are enormous. And these conditions are largely preventable.

People have the public health and clinical interventions and policies to be able to address these problems.

If you care about heart health, please read studies about diets that could help reverse heart failure without surgeries, and an avocado per week keeps your heart doctor away.

For more information about diabetes, please see recent studies about new drugs to treat diabetes, and metabolic syndrome, and results showing heavy cannabis use may decrease the incidence of diabetes.

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