How healthy do you think your heart is? Before answering, consider this: A recent study found that a tiny 0.1 percent of middle-aged folks have ideal heart health. That’s one out of every 1,933 people. In case you forgot, heart disease is the leading cause of death in this country. America, this is a real wake-up call.
The American Heart Association has an ambitious goal to improve the heart health of all Americans 20 percent by 2020. Turns out, we’ve got a long way to go. The study assessed heart health based on seven key factors: cholesterol, diet, exercise, blood pressure, weight, blood sugar and smoking. Fewer than 10 percent of participants scored well on at least five of these factors.
Don’t be intimidated by the numbers, though. The AHA is here to help you assess your own heart health and make an action plan online. Baby steps can go a long way in shaping up that all-important organ. So strap on a pair of jogging shoes, skip the fries and snack on an apple. You’ll feel better and probably drop some pounds in the process.
And if you still smoke? Listen to your heart — it’s begging you to quit. With a few key changes, you can go from idle to ideal.