7 Steps to be a Star in Heart Health, from the Harvard Heart Letter

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Want to be an American Ideal? You can star in this reality production (also known as daily life) by following the seven steps the American Heart Association (AHA) uses to define "ideal heart health."

Want to be an American Ideal? You can star in this reality production (also known as daily life) by following the seven steps the American Heart Association (AHA) uses to define "ideal heart health." Making all seven part of your life can help you protect yourself from heart disease or stroke. But even following just one or two of the steps significantly reduces the chances of having heart disease, reports the April 2010 issue of the Harvard Heart Letter.

You qualify as someone with ideal heart health if you have not been diagnosed with cardiovascular disease and
1.    have never smoked or quit more than a year ago
2.    maintain a healthy body weight (a body mass index under 25)
3.    spend at least 150 minutes a week doing moderate physical activity or 75 minutes a week doing vigorous activity
4.    eat a healthy diet
5.    keep your total cholesterol under 200 mg/dL
6.    keep your blood pressure under 120/80
7.    keep your fasting blood sugar under 100 mg/dL.

The Simple 7 are part of the AHA’s strategy to meet its 2020 goal: "to improve the cardiovascular health of all Americans by 20% while reducing deaths from cardiovascular diseases and stroke by 20%.” The beauty of this approach is that its benefits extend far beyond the heart and arteries. It also works to fight other diseases that are largely caused by poor lifestyle choices—type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and some types of cancer, to name just a few.

The Harvard Heart Letter points readers to the AHA’s online heart health resource, called My Life Check (http://www.heart.org/MyLifeCheck)]. It includes a questionnaire that lets you know where you are on the spectrum for each of the seven goals and tools to help you develop a plan to improve your health and track your progress.

Read the full-length article: "American Ideal"

Also in this issue:

  •     Taking an exercise stress test
  •     A self-care plan for heart failure
  •     Fatal heart attacks on the decline
  •     Can allergies cause high blood pressure?
  •     Is it okay to travel to a high altitude with high blood pressure?

The Harvard Heart Letter is available from Harvard Health Publications (http://www.health.harvard.edu), the publishing division of Harvard Medical School, for $29 per year. Subscribe at http://www.health.harvard.edu/heart or by calling 877-649-9457 (toll-free).

Media: Contact Raquel Schott at Raquel_Schott(at)hms(dot)harvard(dot)edu for a complimentary copy of the newsletter, or to receive our press releases directly.

For Immediate Release—may be used in whole or part with attribution. Media inquiries welcome.

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