Embargoed until 3 p.m. Pacific Time 6 p.m. Eastern Time, Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2018

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 24, 2018 — Fewer than one in 100 stroke survivors meet all of Life’s Simple 7 goals for ideal cardiovascular health identified by the American Heart Association. Moreover, the proportion who fail to meet almost all of the criteria is on the rise, according to preliminary research presented at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference 2018, a world premier meeting dedicated to the science and treatment of cerebrovascular disease for researchers and clinicians.

Life’s Simple 7 was developed to monitor healthy behaviors: not smoking, getting regular physical activity, eating a healthy diet, and achieving normal body mass index, blood pressure, blood sugar and total cholesterol.

In a nationally representative sample of 67,514 U.S adults, 1,597 had prior stroke and had data for all 7 measures.  Researchers reported that fewer than one in five stroke survivors met at least 4 ideal health metrics during the study period. The proportion who met none or just one of the ideal health indicators increased from 18 percent in 1988-1994 to 35 percent in 2011-2014.

Other changes between 1988-1994 and 2011-2014:

  • rates of high blood pressure decreased from 45 percent to 26 percent;

  • rates of high cholesterol decreased from 37 percent to 10 percent;

  • rates of obesity increased from 27 percent to 39 percent;

  • rates of prediabetes/diabetes increased from 49 percent to 56 percent; and

  • proportion with a poor diet increased from 14 percent to 51 percent

After adjusting for other risk factors, stroke survivors meeting zero or one of the ideal Life’s Simple 7 metrics were more likely to be black, living in poverty and not graduated from high school. These results highlight the need for targeted interventions to improve cardiovascular health, researchers said.

Roxanna Todd Hodges Foundation funded the study.

Amytis Towfighi, M.D., Los Angeles County Department of Health Services and Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center, Los Angeles, California.

Note: Scientific presentation is 5:35 p.m. PT, Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2018.

Presentation location: Hall H

Additional Resources:

  • Available downloadable B-roll, animation and images related to this news tip are on the right column of the tip link
  • Life’s Simple 7
  • For more news at AHA International Stroke Conference 2018, follow us on Twitter @HeartNews  #ISC18.

Statements and conclusions of study authors that are presented at American Heart Association scientific meetings are solely those of the study authors and do not necessarily reflect association policy or position. The association makes no representation or warranty as to their accuracy or reliability. The association receives funding primarily from individuals; foundations and corporations (including pharmaceutical, device manufacturers and other companies) also make donations and fund specific association programs and events. The association has strict policies to prevent these relationships from influencing the science content. Revenues from pharmaceutical and device corporations are available at www.heart.org/corporatefunding.


About the American Stroke Association

The American Stroke Association is devoted to saving people from stroke — the No. 2 cause of death in the world and a leading cause of serious disability. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat stroke. The Dallas-based association officially launched in 1998 as a division of the American Heart Association. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-888-4STROKE or visit StrokeAssociation.org. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

For Media Inquiries and AHA Spokesperson Perspective:

AHA News Media in Dallas: 214-706-1173

AHA News Media Office, Jan. 24-26, 2018 at the Los Angeles Convention Center: 213-743-6262.

For Public Inquiries: 800-AHA-USA1 (242-8721)

heart.org and strokeassociation.org