It’s no secret that most US adults have poor cardiovascular health. Yet, what astonished researchers the most was that US kids aren’t faring any better!
According to the latest data from the American Heart Association (AHA), fewer than 30% of children (ages 2–19) got passing grades for their cardiovascular health. Worse yet, the scores got lower with age.
Out of the 9,900 kids tested, 33% of 6- to 11-year-olds scored well on the test, as did 56% of youngsters between the ages of 2 and 5, yet merely 14% of teenagers (12–19) showed satisfactory results.
Moreover, out of the surveyed 23,400 people (across all ages), more than two-thirds scored low on AHA’s new cardiovascular-health assessment tool — Life’s Essential 8.
This system evaluates heart health by accounting for risk factors in eight categories, including diet, physical activity, body mass index (BMI), and body fat percentage.
Participants were also rated for their sleep time, nicotine exposure, and blood parameters, including sugar, cholesterol levels, and blood pressure.
Researchers compared all the mentioned criteria with five-year data (2013–2018) obtained from the National Health and Nutrition Survey. And like adults, the weakest link regarding children’s heart care was — you guessed it — poor diet.
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg!
Statistics show that 1 in 3 American children is physically inactive while pediatricians recommend at least one hour of physical activity per day.
Cardiovascular issues are the leading cause of health complications (and fatalities) both in America and worldwide. Still, most people don’t realize that it all starts much sooner than we think — namely, in childhood.