Congrats, everyone! The United States is overachieving in something — crap diets. Hey, it feels good to be back on top.
In a study published in the journal Circulation, 4,673 12-to 19-year-olds answered questions on the National Health and Nutrition Surveys. Based on their answers, they were then categorized as poor, intermediate, or ideal.
The healthy diet score (based on levels of fruits and vegetables, fish, whole-grains, salt and sugar-sweetened beverage intake recommended by the recommended by the American Heart Association) was the least favorable measure for both boys and girls across ethnic groups — with more than 80 percent rated as having a poor diet, researchers said.
Not surprisingly but depressingly, only one percent of those surveyed reached ideal healthy diet levels.
The surveys also measured overall cardiovascular health by measuring blood pressure, total cholesterol, body mass index (ugh), blood glucose, healthy diet, physical activity, and smoking. The results there are nothing to celebrate if you're a lady — unless you like to celebrate by eating steak and cigarettes, and then get ready to PARTY. Only forty-four percent of the girls reached "ideal" physical activity levels, with boys doing much better at sixty-seven percent.
Although, I'm not too sure what a few of those factors — BMI, I'm looking at your flawed ass — have to do with determining a person's cardiovascular health. Perhaps this is something that can only really be tested by monitoring study participants in physically strenuous situations. Perhaps all those factors can come together to give researchers a guestimate as to the cardiovascular health of the participants, it's far from unimpeachable.
The take away from all this? Oh, the usual.
“The status of heart health during childhood has been shown to be a strong predictor of heart health in adulthood,” [Lead author Christina M.] Shay said. “ Members of the medical and scientific community, parents, teachers and legislators all need to focus their efforts on the prevention and improvement of all aspects of cardiovascular health – particularly optimal physical activity levels and diet — as early in life as possible, beginning at birth.”
So, uh, more of the same information. Exercise, eat well, try not to die before you're thirty of a stroke. Rinse and repeat!