Fewer than 1 in 10 adult Canadians is in ideal cardiovascular health, according to the new CANHEART health index developed to measure heart health published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).
Cardiovascular disease, which includes heart disease and stroke, is the second leading cause of death in Canada.
"A large proportion of Canadians are in poor cardiovascular health, and the overall trend has not changed in the past decade," says senior author Dr. Jack Tu, from the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) and the Schulich Heart Centre, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Toronto, Ontario. "There is an urgent need to improve the heart health of Canadians."
To understand Canadians' level of heart health, a team of researchers developed the Cardiovascular Health in Ambulatory Care Research Team (CANHEART) health index, which measures the ideal health behaviours and factors for optimal heart health. They looked at data on 464 883 people aged 12 years and older who participated in the Canadian Community Health Survey in which people answered questions about their health, health activities and use of health care services between 2003 and 2011.
Participants were categorized into two groups: adults aged 20 years and older and youth aged 12 to 19 years. Adults received scores ranging from worst (0) to best (6), whereas youth received scores between 0 and 4 (best). Ideal heart health was defined as a score of either 6 on the adult index or 4 on the youth index.
The CANHEART index looked at six ideal heart health behaviours and factors:
|Contact: Kim Barnhardt|
Canadian Medical Association Journal