D.C. tops list of heart healthy states

December 19, 2012

The District tops a new list of the most heart healthy states, according to new research published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

While it’s tempting to view this as a reflection of superior health, there’s one depressing detail: D.C. managed to snag the first-place spot even though only 6.9 percent of the population has what researchers would consider “ideal” cardiovascular health.

The study, which was funded by the Centers for Disease Control, is the first to assess cardiovascular health at the state level, according to a news release.

The results of the study were based on data from a 2009 telephone survey of more than 350,000 in the 50 states and the District in which researchers collected information about seven heart health factors.

Those surveyed provided information about their blood pressure, total cholesterol, smoking, body mass index, diabetes, physical activity and consumption of fruits and vegetables.

The study found that the three most heart healthy populations reside in the District, Vermont and Virginia.

The least heart healthy states, according to the study, are Mississippi, West Virginia and Oklahoma, which — with only 1.2 percent of the population demonstrating ideal heart health — came in last.

Overall, the study found that 3 percent of Americans reported having ideal heart health and 10 percent reported having poor heart health.

Researchers hope the study will help the CDC focus efforts on heart disease and stroke prevention programs.

Related: Washington’s accurate, overblown and absurd superlatives

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