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Analyzing America’s Heart Age

Predicted Heart Age and Racial Disparities in Heart Age among U.S. Adults at the State Level

A majority of U.S. adults have a heart age that is older than their chronological age—evidence that they could be at greater risk for heart attacks and stroke. In addition, CDC researchers have found substantial disparities in heart age based on race/ethnicity, gender, region, and other sociodemographic characteristics, according to a new Vital Signs report. Heart age is the calculated age of a person’s cardiovascular system based on his or her risk factor profile, which could include high blood pressure, cigarette smoking, and diabetes. Among the findings:

  • Overall, the average heart age for adult men is eight years older than their chronological age, compared to five years older for women.
  • Although heart age exceeds chronological age for all racial/ethnic groups, it is highest among African-American men and women (an average of 11 years older for both).
  • Among both sexes, excess heart age increases with age and decreases with more education and household income.
  • There are geographic differences in average heart age across states, with heart age typically higher in the southern portion of the U.S.

Cardiovascular disease is often preventable through lifestyle changes or management of medical conditions. Estimated heart age can help empower U.S. adults to take control of their own health to protect against future heart attacks and strokes. 

For more information, visit http://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease and http://www.cdc.gov/stroke. Visit millionhearts.hhs.gov to learn about Million Hearts, a national initiative to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes by 2017.

Contact Information

CDC Media Relations
(404) 639-3286
media@cdc.gov

 

Vital Signs Links

Factsheet:
English [2.8MB]
Spanish [2.4MB]

Spokespersons

Tom Frieden, MD, MPH

Tom Frieden, MD, MPH

Biography

Photo: Dr Thomas Frieden

"Our research reveals too many U.S. adults have a heart age above their chronological age – which means they could be missing out on early opportunities to prevent future heart disease or stroke. Knowing your heart age means understanding your risk of developing cardiovascular disease, as well as how to prevent it."

Tom Frieden, MD, MPH - Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Quanhe Yang, PhD

Quanhe Yang, PhD

Biography

Quanhe Yang, PhD

"Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer in the U.S. and the number one cause of health inequalities. It will take a collective effort, both on an individual and population-level, to boost heart health nationwide, particularly among groups that are most at risk of poor cardiovascular outcomes."

Quanhe Yang, PhD - Epidemiologist, Epidemiology and Surveillance Branch, Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion

Matthew Ritchey, DPT, PT, OCS, MPH

Matthew Ritchey, DPT, PT, OCS, MPH

Biography

Matthew Ritchey, DPT, PT, OCS, MPH

"The goal of the heart age concept is to provide a wakeup call that will motivate Americans – particularly younger adults – into modifying unhealthy lifestyles now, rather than waiting until after a heart attack or stroke. Early intervention could greatly reduce a person’s risk of future cardiovascular disease."

Matthew Ritchey, DPT, PT, OCS, MPH - Epidemiologist, Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion

Related Links

Scientific Articles

Video

Podcast

  • Vital Signs - Heart Age - English | Spanish
  • Vital Signs - Heart Age [PSA - 0:60 seconds]
  • Have a Healthy Heart - Heart disease continues to be the leading cause of death for both men and women in the U.S. In this podcast, Dr. Derrick Gervin discusses ways to keep the heart healthy.
  • Stroke Prevention - In the U.S., nearly 800,000 people suffer a stroke each year. This short podcast focuses on ways you can identify the symptoms of a stroke, as well as reduce your chances of having a stroke.
  • Healthy Hearts - Improving heart health could save millions of lives each year. In the following podcast, Dr. Barbara Bowman discusses common risk factors and strategies to prevent heart disease.
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