7 Steps for a Healthy Heart
From Diet to Exercise to Cholesterol, AHA Identifies 7 Factors for Cardiovascular Health
WebMD News Archive
Jan. 20, 2010 -- The American Heart Association has identified seven
"simple" steps you can take for a healthy heart. But the road to better
cardiovascular health will take some work.
“Life’s Simple 7” categorizes cardiovascular health as Poor, Intermediate,
or Ideal in each of seven areas.
Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association,
the AHA says ideal cardiovascular health for adults is defined by these health
Never smoked or quit more than a year ago.
mass index (BMI), an estimate of body fat determined by a formula using weight
activity, and the more the better. The new measure says at least 150
minutes per week of moderate-intensity exercise is necessary for ideal health,
or 75 minutes weekly of vigorous physical activity.
pressure below 120/80. Fasting blood glucose less than 100 milligrams/deciliter, a fasting measure
of blood sugar level.
Total cholesterol of less than 200 milligrams/deciliter.
Eating a healthy diet. Four to five of the key components of a healthy diet
are followed. For a 2,000-calorie diet, these include:
At least 4.5 cups of fruits
and vegetables per day At least two 3.5 oz. servings of fish per week, preferably oily fish At least three 1-ounce servings of fiber-rich whole grains per day Limiting sodium to less than 1,500 milligrams a day Drinking no more than 36 ounces weekly of sugar-sweetened beverages
The AHA hopes the seven factors could improve the cardiovascular health of
Americans by 20% by the year 2020, and also reduce deaths from
cardiovascular-related diseases and strokes by 20%.