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U.S. Adolescents Are in Poor Heart Health, Survey Finds
Only about half of males, females have five or more ideal components of cardiovascular wellness

TUESDAY, April 2 (HealthDay News) -- Adolescents in the United States are in poor cardiovascular health, with poor diets and insufficient physical activity, according to a study published online April 1 in Circulation.

Christina M. Shay, Ph.D., from the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center in Oklahoma City, and colleagues analyzed data on cardiovascular health in 4,673 individuals 12 to 19 years of age who participated in the 2005 to 2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys.

The researchers found that while most adolescents had an ideal blood pressure, very few had an ideal Healthy Diet Score (less than 1 percent for males and females). The prevalence of ideal total cholesterol was 65 percent for females and 72 percent for males, while the prevalence of ideal physical activity levels was 44 percent for females and 67 percent for males. About two-thirds of both males and females had an ideal body mass index and an ideal smoking status. Only about half of both males and females had five or more ideal cardiovascular health components.

"The low prevalence of ideal cardiovascular health behaviors in U.S. adolescents, particularly physical activity and dietary intake, will likely contribute to a worsening prevalence of obesity, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, and dysglycemia as the current U.S. adolescent population reaches adulthood," the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to Merck.

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