For the 2020 impact goal, the association categorizes cardiovascular health as poor, intermediate or ideal — depending on where people are in each of the seven areas. While the metrics for children vary based on pediatric recommendations and guidelines, ideal cardiovascular health for adults is defined by the presence of these seven health measures, known as Life’s Simple 7:
* Never smoked or quit more than one year ago;
* Body mass index less than 25 kg/m2;
* Physical activity of at least 150 minutes (moderate intensity) or 75 minutes (vigorous intensity) each week;
* Four to five of the key components of a healthy diet consistent with current American Heart Association guideline recommendations;
* Total cholesterol of less than 200 mg/dL;
* Blood pressure below 120/80 mm Hg;
* Fasting blood glucose less than 100 mg/dL.
The association created the definition as part of its effort to achieve its new national goal: By 2020, improve the cardiovascular health of all Americans by 20 percent while reducing deaths from cardiovascular diseases and stroke by 20 percent.
1. Exercising for at least 150 minutes of moderate activity, or 75 minutes of intense exercise, per week
2. Measuring a body mass index of less than 25
3. Stopping smoking
4. Meeting four out of five of the American Heart Association’s key components for a healthy diet
5. Keeping total cholesterol below 200
6. Maintaining blood pressure below 120/80
7. Having a fasting blood sugar level below 100 mg/dL