Publication Date


Journal or Book Title

Journal of the American Heart Association


Background Better cardiovascular health (CVH) scores are associated with lower risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). However, estimates of the potential population-level impact of improving CVH on US CVD event rates are not currently available. Methods and Results Using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2011 to 2016 (n=11 696), we estimated the proportions of US adults in CVH groups. Levels of 7 American Heart Association CVH metrics were scored as ideal (2 points), intermediate (1 point), or poor (0 points), and summed to define overall CVH (low, 0-8 points; moderate, 9-11 points; or high, 12-14 points). Using individual-level data from 7 US community-based cohort studies (n=30 447), we estimated annual incidence rates of major CVD events by levels of CVH. Using the combined data sources, we estimated population attributable fractions of CVD and the number of CVD events that could be prevented annually if all US adults achieved high CVH. High CVH was identified in 7.3% (95% CI, 6.3%-8.3%) of US adults. We estimated that 70.0% (95% CI, 56.5%-79.9%) of CVD events were attributable to low and moderate CVH. If all US adults attained high CVH, we estimated that 2.0 (95% CI, 1.6-2.3) million CVD events could be prevented annually. If all US adults with low CVH attained moderate CVH, we estimated that 1.2 (95% CI, 1.0-1.4) million CVD events could be prevented annually. Conclusions The potential benefits of achieving high CVH in all US adults are considerable, and even a partial improvement in CVH scores would be highly beneficial.









UMass Amherst Open Access Policy

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


National Institutes of Health/National Heart, Lung, and Blood InstituteUnited States Department of Health & Human ServicesNational Institutes of Health (NIH) - USANIH National Heart Lung & Blood Institute (NHLBI) [R21HL085375, K23HL136601, R01HL146844]; Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine; National Institutes of Health/Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development career development grant [K12HD043451]; Center for Biomedical Research Excellence grant from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences [P20GM109036]