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.