Introduction: The American Heart Association (AHA) introduced the construct of ‘cardiovascular health (CVH)’, to focus on primordial prevention to reduce the burden of cardiovascular disease (CVD). The CVH score includes seven health and behavioral metrics (smoking, physical activity, body mass index, diet, total cholesterol, blood pressure, blood glucose), which are characterized as being ideal, intermediate, or poor. Areas covered: In this review, we describe the utility of the CVH score for monitoring and promoting wellness, overall and by key sociodemographic groups, and for tracking of temporal trends. Expert opinion: Notably, the seven factors are all modifiable, which differs from 10-year CVD risk scores that include non-modifiable components such as age, sex, and race. Numerous epidemiological studies have shown that achievement of a greater number of ideal CVH metrics is associated with lower incidences of CVD, cardiovascular mortality, and all-cause mortality. Longer duration of favorable CVH is associated with greater longevity and compressed morbidity. Nevertheless, the prevalence of favorable CVH is low, with <20% of U.S. adults meeting ≥5 metrics at ideal levels and significant racial/ethnic disparities persist. Many challenges must be overcome to improve CVH at individual and societal levels if the AHA Impact Goals are to be fully realized.
- Cardiovascular health
- atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease
- heart failure
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Internal Medicine
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine