Enough to make your heart skip a beat: 80% have suboptimal heart health

Enough to make your heart skip a beat: 80% have suboptimal heart health

Take a moment and check your pulse. How’s your resting heart rate? And your cholesterol? How healthy do you think your heart really is?

An American Heart Association study finds that 80% of us — that’s 4 in 5 people — scored below-optimum in the “Life’s Essential 8” heart and brain health checklist.

The new eight-point checklist replaced the heart association’s “Life’s Simple 7” list, adding good sleep to the mix.

The scoring was calculated using data from more than 23,400 adults and children from national health surveys from 2013 to 2018.

Besides sleep — and they’re calling for seven to nine hours per night, in case you were wondering — other checklist components include diet, physical activity, nicotine exposure, body mass index, blood lipids, blood glucose and blood pressure.

The scale ranges from 0 to 100, and less than half of 1% of all Americans scored a 100. Scores from 50 to 79 were labeled moderate, and anything below 50 was considered low.

Adults’ average score was almost 65; children’s average was 65.5.

Adult women fared better, with an average score of 67. Men had an average score of 62.

U.S. adults underperformed most in the diet, physical activity and body-mass index components.

And children’s diet scores were atrocious, coming in at just over 40.

So, while you might be able to get along without a spleen, an appendix or without one of your lungs or kidneys, you cannot make it without your brain and heart’s help. Adults, find a way to get yourself moving. And kids? When your parents urge you to grab a banana rather than potato chips, that’s good advice.

Remember: If you take care of your heart and brain, they’ll take care of you.

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