Few Americans attain CV health goals associated with decreased mortality

August 1, 2012

A recent study from JAMA indicates that most Americans aren't meeting the necessary goals to lower CV risks.

Meeting a greater number of guideline-specified cardiovascular (CV) health goals was associated with a lower risk of total and CV mortality. Unfortunately, the proportion of Americans meeting these goals is low, according to a recent study published online in JAMA.

CV disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, accounting for about 1 in every 3 deaths annually, and resulting in estimated overall costs of $444 billion.

They found that only 1.2% of Americans sampled from the NHANES 2005-2010 data set met all 7 of the above health goals. Moreover, this number was down from 2.0% in the 1988-1994 cohort.

The prevalence of current smoking declined from 27.9% to 22.6% from the 1988-1994 to the 2005-2010 cohort, but the prevalence of adults with desirable total cholesterol levels (<200 mg/dL) and blood pressure (<120 mm Hg/<80 mm Hg) was unchanged, and the prevalence of consuming a healthy diet, having a BMI<25, and having a fasting blood glucose <100 mg/dL declined (worsened) significantly.

"The lack of improvement, and in some cases worsening, is very concerning given that mortality rates are inversely related to the number of the 7 criteria met," noted Formulary board member Craig I. Coleman, PharmD, associate professor of pharmacy, University of Connecticut, Storrs, Conn.

Adjusted hazard ratios were 0.49 (95% CI, 0.33–0.74; P<.001) for all-cause mortality, 0.24 (95% CI, 0.13–0.47; P<.001) for CVD mortality, and 0.30 (95% CI, 0.13–0.68; P<.001) for ischemic heart disease mortality for Americans who met 6 or more of the health goals compared to 1 or fewer.

Dr Coleman said, "As healthcare professionals . . . we need to further emphasize the importance of lifestyle modification to our patients and optimize their pharmacotherapy."