(HealthDay News) – Only 3.3% of Americans are in ideal cardiovascular health, with considerable between-state variation noted, according to research published online Dec. 19 in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Jing Fang, MD, from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and colleagues analyzed data for 356,441 eligible participants from the state-based 2009 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System telephone survey, focusing on seven cardiovascular metrics: hypertension, high cholesterol, smoking, body mass index, diabetes, physical activity, and fruit and vegetable consumption.

The researchers found that 3.3% of the overall population was in ideal cardiovascular health (ideal health status on all seven metrics), while 9.9% was in poor cardiovascular health (zero to two of the seven metrics). The mean overall score (number of ideal metrics) was 4.42. There was variation between states in the percentage with ideal cardiovascular health, ranging from 1.2% (Oklahoma) to 6.9% (District of Columbia). With Illinois as the referent, the adjusted prevalence ratio of ideal cardiovascular health ranged from 0.38 in Oklahoma to 1.91 in the District of Columbia.

“In conclusion, this report provides estimates of cardiovascular health for all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. The data can be used by state programs as a baseline assessment of cardiovascular health,” the authors write. “Findings from this report can be used by stakeholders to direct communication initiatives, focus limited resources, and support programmatic plans to improve cardiovascular health.”

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