DALLAS, July 31 (UPI) -- Officials at the American Heart Association said a recent study that found U.S. adults living longer but sicker than other nations is a wake-up call.
"How much clearer does the evidence need to be? As a nation, we need healthier behavior, and we need to make it possible for all Americans to get there," Dr. Mariel Jessup, president of the American Heart Association, said in a statement.
"We have it within our power to create a world that's free of heart disease and stroke. But everyone has a role and responsibility to make this happen -- policymakers, healthcare professionals and the public."
The study of "U.S. Health, 1990-2010: Burdens of Diseases, Injuries and Risk Factors" published in The Journal of the American Medical Association reinforces U.S. adults were living longer but not necessarily healthier.
It also stressed that while the United States continues to spend the most on healthcare in the world, U.S. health outcomes are persistently behind other countries.
The researchers pointed to poor diet and inadequate physical activity that leads to obesity and other risk factors as two key reasons why Americans are lagging globally.
The American Heart Association has established a 2020 impact goal that seeks to improve the cardiovascular health of all Americans by 20 percent, while reducing deaths from cardiovascular diseases and stroke by 20 percent, Jessup said.