Poor Scores for US Childrens’ Heart Health

A new report from the American Heart Association’s (AHA) journal Circulation gave astonishingly poor scores for the cardiovascular health of the vast majority of American children. The AHA used seven factors to evaluate childrens’ heart health: no tobacco use, healthy body weight, one hour of exercise daily, healthy diet, good blood pressure, and healthy blood glucose levels. Roughly 91% of the children in the study failed the AHA’s requirements as they pertain to diet, finding that most children are eating enough calories, but they come from simple carbohydrates like sugared drinks.In a similar vein, only 10% of boys and 5% of girls in the 16-19 year old age bracket met the daily exercise goal of 60 minutes per day. Perhaps unsurprisingly, these two factors combine for a failing grade in the body weight category for many children. In the 12-19 year old groups, the obesity rate is between 19 and 27 percent. These factors all create a picture of a whole generation of people who are destined for a lifetime of heart disease without proper intervention. The AHA has set a goal to reduce cardiovascular disease and increase health by 20% by the year 2020.