The American Heart Association (AHA) considers lifestyle modification to be the
foundation for CVD risk reduction. The AHA defines ideal cardiovascular
health by the presence of a healthy diet, not smoking, body mass index 25 kg/m2 or
lower, physical activity at U.S. recommended levels, and biomarkers of untreated
total cholesterol of 200 mg/dl or lower, untreated blood pressure of 120/80 mm Hg
or lower, and fasting blood of glucose no higher than 100 mg/dl.38 39 These seven
Building Blocks of good cardiovascular health are sometimes called Life’s Simple

A study of the heart health of Americans found that diet and physical activity were
the metrics least likely to be ideal. The prevalence of six or seven of the ideal
cardiovascular health metrics was as low as 0.5% in a population of Black Americans,
and in only one of 14 U.S. study sites did more than 10% of those studied
have ideal metrics. Compared with persons with zero to one cardiovascular health
metrics, persons with five to seven cardiovascular health metrics had a 23% to 79%
reduction in the risk of all-cause mortality and a 42% to 90% reduction in the risk
of CVD mortality. In addition, persons with six to seven ideal cardiovascular health
metrics had a 51% reduction in cancer risk, and persons achieving five to seven
ideal metrics had a 36% reduction in the odds of depressive symptoms.

The INTERHEART study, a major Canadian-led global study of heart disease in
52 countries, identified nine easily measured diet and lifestyle-related risk factors
that account for over 90% of the risk of an acute heart attack:

• Smoking
• Blood cholesterol
• Hypertension
• Diabetes
• Obesity
• Diet
• Physical activity
• Alcohol consumption
• Psychosocial factors

The INTERHEART investigators, led by Salim Yusuf, found that these risk factors
are the same in almost every geographic region and every racial/ethnic group
worldwide and are consistent in men and women. Referring to the INTERHEART
study in his book The Spectrum, Dean Ornish notes that cardiovascular heart disease
“…is almost completely preventable by changing diet and lifestyle…”

This blog presents opinions and ideas and is intended to provide helpful general information. I am not engaged in rendering advice or services to the individual reader. The ideas, procedures and suggestions in that are presented are not in any way a substitute for the advice and care of the reader’s own physician or other medical professional based on the reader’s own individual conditions, symptoms or concerns. If the reader needs personal medical, health, dietary, exercise or other assistance or advice the reader should consult a physician and/or other qualified health professionals. The author specifically disclaims all responsibility for any injury, damage or loss that the reader may incur as a direct or indirect consequence of following any directions or suggestions given in this blog or participating in any programs described in this blog or in the book, The Building Blocks of Health––How to Optimize Your Health with a Lifestyle Checklist (available in print or downloaded at Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble and elsewhere). Copyright 2021 by J. Joseph Speidel