West, New England have best heart health

Dec. 20, 2012 at 12:27 AM
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ATLANTA, Dec. 20 (UPI) -- U.S. risk of cardiovascular disease is linked to location -- people living in western and New England states reported better heart health, researchers say.

The study, published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, found the percentage of the population with ideal cardiovascular health varied from 1.2 percent in Oklahoma to 6.9 percent in Washington, D.C.

Dr. Jing Fang, an epidemiologist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention in Atlanta, and colleagues used 2009 data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System -- a telephone survey of more than 350,000 adults in the 50 states and Washington, D.C.

The researchers collected information on the American Heart Association's seven major heart-health factors: blood pressure, cholesterol, smoking, body mass index, diabetes, physical activity and produce consumption.

The study also found the percentage of the population reporting ideal cardiovascular health defined as having optimal levels of all seven risk factors was lowest in Oklahoma, West Virginia and Mississippi and highest in Washington, D.C., Vermont and Virginia.

Only about 3 percent of the total U.S. population reported having ideal heart health, while about 10 percent of the total population reported having poor cardiovascular health, with two or fewer heart-health factors at optimal levels.

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