Are You Following Steps to Live a Long Healthy Life?

By , SparkPeople Blogger

As I was working yesterday, I heard a news report about a new heart health program by the American Heart Association. With an older brother that has already suffered a mild heart attack as well as a grandmother that died of heart related issues, I was interested in the report and set out to learn more.

By evaluating seven key health areas, setting goals for those areas where we fall short and establishing a plan to improve, all adults can improve their cardiovascular health according to the American Heart Association. To help people accomplish this, they have developed a seven step assessment tool. The tool will help people from ages 2-99 to:

  • Understand current levels of cardiovascular health

  • Assess individual health needs

  • Commit to steps to improve health and quality of life

  • Move closer to personal health goals
How can this assessment help you?

The 'Life's Simple 7' assessment process is straightforward --answer simple questions, choose an action plan for each area, and discover your cardiovascular health rating by receiving a score between 1 and 10. If you achieve an 'excellent' rating in all areas, the AHA believes you would be at your 'ideal' cardiovascular health. The 'Simple 7' goals to achieve ideal cardiovascular health include :

  • Never smoked or quit more than a year ago.

  • Body mass index less than 25.

  • At least 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity exercise each week.

  • A healthy diet including at least 5 fruits and vegetables a day, low sugar intake, a sodium intake of less than 1,500 mg, 2-3 servings of fish each week. (ETA - 3 daily servings of fiber rich whole grains -- which was inadvertantly left out.)

  • A total cholesterol of 200 or lower.

  • A blood pressure below 120/80.

  • A fasting blood sugar of 100 or lower.
I was curious what my score would be since I am active and eat well but am not perfect and do take prescription medication. I completed the assessment and received a 7.5 out of 10 because of my weight, the fact that I answered that I don't always get 2-3 servings of fish each week, don't consume less than 1,500 mg of sodium and entered a blood pressure from my last doctor visit that was borderline. If I changed the blood pressure, my score improved to 9.2 out of 10.

The American Heart Association initiated this new program because they have a long-term goal of improving U.S. cardiovascular health by 20 percent and reducing cardiovascular disease and stroke deaths by 20 percent by 2020.

What is your score and do you have a plan and support system in place to help you improve it?

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Thanks! Report
CECELW 3/25/2020
common sense stuff Report
PICKIE98 12/11/2019
120/80 is an ideal BP. Report
Because of this program all my numbers are good except for my BMI which is 27, which I am working hard at. Report
Thanks for sharing. Great information. Report
Interesting Report
I am changing my lifestyle. Thanks. Report
i think this was interesting. Report
I am doing great...Thank goodness. But I am a PE and Health teacher, so I should be doing well. Report
9.1 - I'm happy with this result, but I need to up my exercise : ) Report
9.8! I need to eat more fish (although I do take a daily fish oil supplement - does that count) and be more careful with my sodium intake. It's nice to see a visual of the healthy choices I've made, and I also liked the "next steps" part. I'm saving the PDF to my computer, to check on it every few months :) Report
9.7 would have been better if I knew my cholesterol and blood sugar Report
I scored a 10! But it doesn't ask if you eat a lot of cakes and cookies-- my downfall. Report
WooHoo 9.2 that's pretty good. Need to work on the weight again it's creeping back up 10-12 pounds, I'm very stressed right now my Dad has Alzheimer's. Need to eat fish consistently and more fruit and veggies too. Report
I took the assessment. Since when is 120/80 considered high blood pressure????? That's always been the "normal" pressure. Report
I got 8.9..not bad, but I'd like to get it better. Here's my problem: I'm vegetarian, why would I eat fish?!?!?! Anyhow, I put yes to the question, since it's really a matter of getting enough omega-3 fatty acids and a low-fat, high protein source all in one. I get enough healthy fat, and LOTS of low-fat, high protein each I felt okay putting yes. I kinda wish there had just been a question about if you get enough healthy fat and have high protein sources other than meat.. Report
Wow I got a 9.8 pretty dang good. Report
The link doesnt work for me. Any suggestions? Report
Doing alot better. Report
I got a 7.4 but only because I don't know my current cholesterol, blood pressure or blood sugar numbers. Have to wait until my benefits kick in at my new job then go get a check up & try it again! I did however score "Excellent" on my physical activity so that's kind of nice Report
I took the assestment and ot a 7.9, not bad but there is a lot of need for improvement. Exercise has to become a big priority in my life, walking is the easier for me because of my knees I am beginning to try to build some strength in my legs especially getting up and down steps and up & down in chairs. More fish each week and I like fish but I hate to cook for myself.

If you have the faith of a mustard seed nothing will be impossible for you. Report
Well I know my blood pressure is weird; it goes upppppppppppp and dowwwwwwwwwwnnnnnn and I imagine it is mostly due to the multitude of meds I have to take, and I am suspecting, WHEN I take them relative to each other, so I doubt I would do well altho I limit sodium, exercise consistently, and don't smoke or drink (much....and not at all during this three months coming up), but I do have 30 lbs I need to lose and my visceral fat is not in the safe range; body fat is not in the optimal range......doing mooskel training tho. :) Report
I chose to not take the assessment. I detest how many sites offer free assessments but demand your name and e-mail before they will provide the results. Collecting my zip code is OK. I can understand that for demographic analysis. But not the rest. Report
I got 7.7 and got lots of good recommendations for me to work on to get that score higher :-) Report
I got an 8.4, which is pretty good I think, because I didn't know my cholesterol and blood sugar numbers. I know I am within normal range for both though. Can't get a 10 when you have 50% body fat though. :) Report
Wow I got a 9. Stopped smoking over 12 yrs ago, my blood pressure at the doctors on Friday was 112/72, my total cholesterol is 148. Need to improve on the amount of fish and fruits and I wasn't sure of my sugar level but know I do not have diabetes. I eat too much sodium. Oh well Report
10.0 This is very interesting as I don't consider myself near the peak of health. I'm usually very tired, and I feel I'm not as strong as I should be. I also fight a regular feelings of depression.
I think each person can do their own assessment the best. Do not rely too heavily on someone else's tool. Report
7.5 - not as bad as I feared. Of course I want to get this number higher. I need to lose close to 100 lbs. and be more consistent with the exercise! Thanks for the link. This is a really good tool to get us motivated!
We can do this!
Jo Report
5.9. yikes! :( Report
5.5 i thought i was doing good but i am not. so i have to kick it up a notch. Report
8.4 - made me feel good about the changes I have made... now just need to make sure I keep them up and get that weight down. As for other Cdn. I just used 90210 as my zip and because the US diabetes number are different, I just said I don't know, so I was able to complete test.... Report
I scored 8.2 mainly because of my blood pressure. I take medication and my numbers can improve. I am overweight and my physical activity needs improvement. So there is much work for me to do. I will get there.... Report
7.9, mostly because of my weight. My hypertension, for which I've been on medication since age 29 when I wore size 5, is a hereditary condition. It is controlled quite well, but they'd like it to be lower. Report
6.9 I have some work ahead of me. I need to eat a healthier diet and lose weight. Report
Wow, I got a 9.7. Ive been working on eating more fruit, and veggies daily. i got a higher score too because I do a lot of intense exercise each week, and I am a normal weight, though I am still 10 pounds from my goal. I do need to eat more fish, which I love. It's just pretty expensive right now. Report
6.9 I already know I have to keep losing weight and just two weeks ago I started a plan to have fish weekly but I'm adjusting that to twice weekly. Not knowing my cholesterol also brought my score down so I need to have that checked. Many of the suggestions that were listed are things I am already working on. I just takes time. If I had taken this a year ago my score would have been lower because of blood pressure and little exercise. I'll check back periodically to watch my number grow.
I am not concerned about living a long life but I am concerned about being well while I am here on this earth. Report
I received a 10.0 and I work very hard every day to get that score. I was very honest with the answers and I was very very happy with the results!!! Woot! Report
9.1 - I have to increase my physical activity and keep it there! Report
6.9 I need to lose more weight and exercise more. Working on both! Report
I got a 7.5 due to the fact that I am overweight and quit smoking 1.5 months goal is a 10!!! Report
Scored 9.3 Need to work on the veggie/fruit thing and 1 more serving of fish. Report
I scored 9.6 - the one area for improvement is my cholesterol which is 205 overall (they want it to be below 200). My HDLs are really good. I believe the issue for me is sweets, but I don't know if it an issue with fats or an issue with sugar. I wasn't sure about the sodium. Report
I got 7.8, because I don't know my blood pressure nor my blood sugar level and I am overweight Report
Whoo Hoo 9.8!! According to them I need more whole grains ( I am trying) , fish (I am a mountain girl!) and less salt (I am a saltaholic-I admit) Otherwise I am OK! Report
No surprises, and I'm already doing a lot to improve. Lost 30 lbs in 2009 and still Sparkin' along! Great article and test; I think American Heart Assn and American Diabetes Assn have great websites and resources for us! Report
I come from a family of "unhealthy" hearts; the problems show up when we hit the later years. I got an 8.6, with a Needs Improvement on some things I thought were doing pretty good: cholesterol was 8 points over the line; bp of 125/65 seemed good to me, but should be lower; need to eat even more fruits & veggies as well as fish. Need to lower the sodium, though it's really a struggle to get it under 1700 daily, let alone the 1500 they want. Weight was a warning, of course. Report
7.6, I know my cholesteral and blood sugar are good per my doctor this tuesday, but don't know the numbers Report
9.8 I couldn't remember my blood sugar levels (It couldn't hurt to cut down on sugar & carbs, though) and I've been slacking on the exercise since I started my desk job this summer. I started taking a second dance class, so that should help, but it's only moderate-level exercise--more muscle isolation stuff than cardio. I need to start walking more during my lunch hour & take the stairs (I'm 10 floors up from my car--that's a lot of stairs for me!) Report
I scored a 7.4. When I get my cholesterol, bp, and glucose numbers i"ll do it again so I have the full picture. Report