American Heart Association (AHA) President Robert A. Harrington says that the life expectancy has gone up in recent years. Still, he points out, improved life expectancy doesn’t translate to improved health in all cases. According to him, “Not all those years are healthy ones as the effects of chronic illnesses are increasingly impacting the quality of life of people at a much younger age than in the past.”
The response to these uncomfortable statistics by the AHA is an advisory by its President, published in the journal Circulation , that recommends goals towards which national and international health-related organizations and ministries should strive. These are titled the 2030 Impact Goals, and the aim is to empower healthy living for a larger part of the lifespan, for all people in the US and in the world. Image Credit: Olha Tytska / Shutterstock The challenge
A new report from the AHA– the Heart & Stroke Statistics - 2020 Update – shows an encouraging drop in the number of deaths occurring as a result of stroke and heart disease (clubbed together as (CVD). However, it also reveals that the slope of this downturn has become shallower in the last few years.
A more disconcerting finding is that after almost 100 years of effort to improve cardiovascular health, including the prevention and control of heart disease and stroke, better medical treatments and more healthy lifestyles and behaviors, poor health is currently more prevalent and is beginning younger, due to the poor management of risk factors for CVD. It is against this background that the Impact Goals are to be seen.
The US Goal may be stated as an increase in the number of healthy years of life that can be expected from the current 66 years to 68 years or more by 2030, in an equitable manner.
The International Goal is an increase in worldwide expectancy of healthy years of life from the current 64 years to 67 or more years by 2030, in an equitable manner. How to monitor progress
The advisory recommends the use of the health measure called the Health-Adjusted Life Expectancy (HALE) metric, also called Healthy Life Expectancy, which assesses the number of healthy years an individual may expect to live. This includes the impact of physical and mental health conditions and captures the overall state of health over the whole lifetime of the person depending on the environmental and other risk factors. Positive and negative trends
All over the USA, adults are becoming more active, eating healthier food, smoking less, and have better control of their cholesterol. However, at the same time, other areas are showing a negative trend. Young people are showing unhealthy trends which means that the generations of the future will be at higher risk for greater major health issues. Obesity: About 40% of adults and 19% of young people are obese and the rates are rising Exercise and physical activity: Not even one in three students have a physical education class every day. Only about a quarter (26%) are moderately or vigorously physically active every day. High blood sugar: Over the period 1990 to 2017, despite a wealth of glucose-regulating drugs and equipment, there has been an increase in the number of diabetic males by 130%, which means their number has more than doubled; for women it is slightly less, but still more than double the previous number, at 121%. Smoking: The rate of smoking in the US is at an all-time low for adolescents and has also decreased among adults. However, more and more youngsters are taking to vaping, and globally, there were over 930 million smokers in 2015, higher than before. When demarcated by sex, income and location, it is found that 80% or more of smokers are in the less industrialized and less developed countries of the world, and most are male. Related Stories
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