Heart Disease Remains the Leading Cause of Death in the United States – February is American Heart Month

January 24, 2018

More Than 635,000 People Die of Heart Disease Every Year – That’s 1 in Every 4 Deaths

David C. Goff, M.D., Ph.D., Director, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)

(Bethesda, MD, Wednesday, January 24, 2018) – Heart disease remains the leading cause of death in the United States. More than 635,000 people die of heart disease every year–that’s 1 in every 4 deaths.

The science is clear, inactivity kills.

February is American Heart Month, and it’s never too late or early to improve your heart health. Even small changes make a difference when you #MoveWithHeart and follow a heart-healthy diet.

As many Americans embark on their New Year’s Resolutions to live a healthier lifestyle, it’s important to understand how to be healthy.

  • What and how much physical activity should they incorporate into their day?
  • How does diet factor into heart health?
  • A healthy lifestyle (no smoking, healthy weight and diet, and physical activity) can substantially lower the risk of heart disease and stroke, even for those at high genetic risk. Only about 22 percent of adults meet the Physical Activity Guidelines for both aerobic and muscle-strengthening activity.
  • Despite progress in reducing cardiovascular disease (CVD), racial and geographic disparities still exist. Many groups have higher rates of CVD risk factors and poor outcomes including: African Americans, Puerto Rican Hispanics, American Indians/Alaska Natives, rural populations.  Since the 1940s, the highest rates of stroke mortality are in the U.S. “stroke belt.”
  • Hispanic and non-Hispanic black adults were more likely to be inactive (38.8% and 39.0%, respectively) than were non-Hispanic white adults (27.0%) on the basis of age-adjusted estimates.
  • Only 16.8 percent of Hispanic or Latino adults ages ≥18 years met the 2008 Federal Aerobic and Strengthening Physical Activity Guidelines for Adults.
  • Move more throughout the day. Take the stairs. Park farther away. Get up from your seat. Build up to activity that gets your heart beating faster and leaves you a little breathless. Jump rope. Go for a brisk walk. Or dance
  • Adults should spend at least 150 minutes (2 ½ hours) each week doing physical activity. There are flexible ways for people to break it into amounts of daily activity, and even small amounts add up.
  • For example two ways to achieve this are: 30 minutes each of 5 days per week or 10 minutes, three times a day, 5 days per week.
  • Reducing inactivity is as important as increasing physical activity. 

For more information, please visit https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/.

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