(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, PhD, from the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center in Oklahoma City, and colleagues analyzed data on cardiovascular health in 4,673 individuals 12–19 years of age who participated in the 2005–2010 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 (<1% for males and females). The prevalence of ideal total cholesterol was 65% for females and 72% for males, while the prevalence of ideal physical activity levels was 44% for females and 67% 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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