Cardiovascular disease is a lifestyle disease. Period. Genetics play a very small role. Period. In almost all cases, if you have heart disease it is due to choices you made.
Hard to swallow, but it’s the truth. We don’t want to think that the personal burden of heart disease was our fault. It’s much easier to blame genetics and age.
So what factors do the American Heart Association consider established risk factors for heart disease? Here’s the short list:
- Ideal blood pressure
- Ideal blood glucose
- Ideal total cholesterol (not my favorite)
- Ideal physical activity levels
- Ideal body mass index
- Health diet score (very basic, simple changes)
Pretty simple list. These are all health decisions that you make (or don’t make).
So how well are our teens sticking to these guidelines?
This particular study looked at just how well a group of 4673 teens aged 12-19 were following each of these guidelines. Here’s what they found:
- Ideal blood pressure: males 78%, females 90%
- Ideal blood glucose: males 89%, females 74%
- Ideal total cholesterol: males 65%, females 72%
- Ideal physical activity levels: males 44%, females 67%
- Ideal body mass index: males 66%, females 67%
- Non-smoking: males 66%, females 70%
- Healthy diet score: less than 1% for both males and females
Overall, less than 45% of males and 50% of females had 5 / 7 factors in his or her favor.
As a society, if we can’t maintain even the most basic of lifestyle changes in our kids, things are going to get ugly in the future.
As I’ve mentioned many times in the past, the AHA guidelines are very basic and are still short of what I recommend in my free ebook, Dr Bogash’s Lifestyle Recommendations.
The bottom line is that, statistically, if you’re reading this blog post, you are not maintaining ideal cardiovascular health factors. If you are not at least at this basic level, the responsibility for your cardiac disease is yours and yours alone.