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New Report on U.S. Health a ‘Wake-Up Call,’ Heart Group Says

Obesity termed a global epidemic (July 11)

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), a study recently published in JAMA is a “wake-up call” for America.

The study reinforces that Americans are living longer but not necessarily healthier. It also stresses that while the U.S. continues to spend more on health care, our health outcomes are persistently behind those of other countries. The authors point to poor diet and inadequate physical activity that leads to obesity and other risk factors as two key reasons why Americans are lagging globally.

“How much clearer does the evidence need to be? As a nation, we need healthier behavior, and we need to make it possible for all Americans to get there,” said AHA president Mariel Jessup, MD. “We have it within our power to create a world that’s free of heart disease and stroke. But everyone has a role and responsibility to make this happen — policymakers, health care professionals, and the public.”

The AHA has established a "20-20" impact goal that seeks to improve the cardiovascular health of all Americans by 20% while reducing deaths from cardiovascular diseases and stroke by 20%. To achieve this goal, the association is focused on strategies from an individual to a global level. For example, through the AHA’s “Life’s Simple Seven” program, individuals can find tools to get their health factors under control, to increase exercise levels, and to adopt a better diet, thereby improving their cardiovascular health and greatly reducing the chance that they will experience a heart attack or stroke, the association says.

According to AHA CEO Nancy Brown, obesity is not only a problem for the U.S., it’s a global epidemic.

Study: AHA; July 11, 2013.

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