My wife and I have proudly marched in Occupy Salem events, chanting "We are the 99%!" But we're pleased to learn that we're also in the 1% -- the percentage of Americans who met all seven metrics of cardiovascular health.
- Not smoking
- Physical activity (being active)
- Having blood pressure under control
- Maintaining healthy blood glucose levels
- Maintaining healthy blood cholesterol levels
- Maintaining a healthy body weight
- Following a healthy and balanced diet
I barely made it past the body weight criterion, finding that my six feet tall'ness and 182 pounds of weight'ness gave me a BMI (body mass index) of 24.7, just a bit under the 25 that qualified me for normal weight.
Otherwise, though, I'm clearly in the Healthy Zone on the other six criteria. And it really isn't all that difficult to do.
Yet only 1.2% of Americans met all seven metrics during 2005-2010, compared to an also-measly, but somewhat better, 2% from 1988 to 1994.
Conclusion: Americans are in bad shape.
That's obvious from watching my fellow citizens gorge themselves on crappy food, and try to cram their fat butts into airplane seats that are plenty wide for normal bodies -- but not the abnormally obese American physique.
Health insurance plans and employers are catching on to how much medical care money goes to pay for conditions that could have been prevented if people had healthier lifestyles. Good news.
If people's insurance premiums were partly based on how many of the seven heart-healthy metrics insurees met, that'd be a monetary incentive to engage in healthier behaviors.