AHA Updates Heart Health Checklist

The American Heart Association (AHA) has updated its checklist for measuring cardiovascular health, adding sleep as an essential part of overall heart and brain health, along with other additional changes.

This update is a revision of the original checklist published in 2010. The updated checklist is now intended for use in people aged 2 years or older.

Among the updated recommendations:

  • The recommended daily average of sleep per day for adults is 7-9 hours. A total of 10-16 hours is recommended for children 5 years old or younger, 9-12 hours for children 6-12 years old, and 8-10 hours for teenagers 13-18 years old.
  • A new dietary assessment guide now measures diet quality at the individual and population level.
  • Nicotine exposure now includes the use of inhaled nicotine delivery systems, such as electronic cigarettes and vaping devices.
  • Blood lipids should not be monitored using non-HDL cholesterol, rather than total cholesterol.
  • Blood glucose readings now include hemoglobin A1c readings or blood glucose levels to better reflect long-term glycemic control.

Additionally, the authors updated the scoring algorithm for each metric ranging from 0 to 100. The overall cardiovascular score consists of the average of the scores for each health measure. People with scores below 50 are classified as having “poor” cardiovascular health, 50 to 79 as “moderate” health, and 80 and above as “high” health.

“Life’s Simple 7 has served as a powerful and proven tool for understanding how to age healthy and how to improve cardiovascular health while reducing the risk of developing heart disease and stroke, as well as cancer, dementia and many other chronic diseases,” concluded AHA President Donald M. Lloyd-Jones, MD, ScM, FAHA. “Given the evolution of research, it was important to address some of the limitations of the original measures, particularly in how they were applied to people from diverse racial and ethnic populations.”

—Jessica Ganga

References:

  1. Lloyd-Jones DM, Allen NB, Anderson CAM, et al; The American Heart Association. Life Essentials 8: Updating and Improving the American Heart Association Concept of Heart Health: A Presidential Advisory from the American Heart Association. Traffic. Published online June 29, 2022. doi:10.1161/CIR.0000000000001078
  2. The American Heart Association adds sleep to the heart health checklist. American Heart Association. June 29, 2022. Accessed July 8, 2022. newsroom.heart.org/news/american-heart-association-adds-sleep-to-cardiovascular-health-checklist?preview=1594

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