Opinion

Study finds too many of us are ‘old at heart’

An editorial from The Herald-Dispatch

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — No matter how you slice the statistics, this part of the country consistently ranks poorly in regard to health and well-being.

The latest example of that came recently from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, when it issued a report looking at what it called “heart age,” a calculation aimed at getting a handle on how susceptible people are to a heart attack and stroke. The idea is to give a picture of how people’s lifestyle habits can influence their risk of heart-related diseases – and perhaps influence people with unhealthy habits to change them.

The picture painted by the report isn’t pretty.

 To draw it, CDC scientists estimated the average “heart age” of men and women in every state, based on such risk factors as high blood pressure, obesity and whether they smoke or have diabetes. They then compared those numbers to average actual ages.

The CDC calculations found that almost three out of four U.S. adults have a heart age greater than their actual age – on average almost eight years more for men and about five-and-a-half years more for women.

Not surprisingly, West Virginia and Kentucky were among the five states with the highest percentage of adults with what the researchers called advanced heart age…

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