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Hispanics More Heart-Healthy Than Other Americans: Study

TUESDAY, Nov. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Hispanic Americans meet more heart-healthy goals than other racial and ethnic groups in the United States, according to a new study.

Researchers analyzed data from nearly 16,000 Hispanic-American adults of Cuban, Dominican, Puerto Rican, Mexican, and Central and South American origins to determine if they met the American Heart Association's seven cardiovascular health goals for 2020.

Compared to other racial and ethnic groups in the United States, Hispanics had higher rates of ideal blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose levels, were less likely to smoke, and were more likely to get recommended amounts of exercise.

Like most Americans, however, too few Hispanics ate a heart-healthy diet and too many were overweight, the investigators found.

The study found that 5 percent of Hispanic Americans met six of the seven goals, which is higher than the national average of less than 4 percent. About 53 percent had ideal blood pressure, which is nearly 22 percent higher than the national rate.

Nearly 52 percent of Hispanic Americans had ideal levels of moderate to vigorous physical activity, which is 23 percent higher than the national rate.

Only 2 percent of Hispanic Americans ate an ideal heart-healthy diet, however, and less than 25 percent had an ideal body mass index (BMI) compared to the national rate of 32 percent. BMI is a measurement of body fat based on height and weight.

The study is scheduled for presentation Tuesday at the American Heart Association's annual meeting in Los Angeles.

"We found remarkable variability in [cardiovascular health] rates among Latino ethnicities that underscores the importance of understanding the unique cardiovascular health characteristics of this culturally diverse and increasingly important population in the United States," study lead author Hector Gonzalez, associate professor in the department of family medicine and public health at Wayne State University in Detroit, said in an association news release.

The data and conclusions of research presented at medical meetings should be considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

More information

Here's where you can learn more about the American Heart Association's heart health goals.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: American Heart Association, news release, Nov. 6, 2012

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