Prevalence of the seven cardiovascular health metrics in a Mediterranean country: results from a cross-sectional study

Eur J Public Health. 2013 Oct;23(5):858-62. doi: 10.1093/eurpub/ckt130.


Aim: Primordial prevention is essential for reaching cardiovascular (CV) health. This is defined by seven health metrics identified by the American Heart Association. Aim of the present study was to assess prevalence and distribution of these seven CV health metrics within an unselected population.

Methods: All the 1110 consecutive individuals (mean age 56 ± 13 years; 56% women) who agreed to be screened within the context of a national campaign of CV prevention were included. The following findings have been considered as ideal: never/former smoker, regular participation in physical activity, body mass index lower than 25.0, healthy diet, cholesterol lower than 200 mg/dl, diabetes absence and a blood pressure lower than 120/80 mmHg.

Results: Participants presented, on average, 4.1 ± 1.2 ideal CV health metrics, with a decreasing number across age-groups. Only 10.4% covered more than five ideal CV health metrics and 8.3% covered less than three ideal health metrics. Only 1.9% of the study population met all the seven ideal metrics. In particular, only 34% (379 subjects) in our population presented an ideal level of cholesterol. The higher prevalence was observed in younger subjects (45%) and the lower (28%) in people older than 62 years (P < 0.001).

Conclusion: Prevalence of the seven CV health metrics was low in our population and just 1 in 10 met more than five ideal CV health metrics. Social initiatives and awareness policies from governments are mandatory to promote CV health. Further studies should address the impact of such CV metrics on several outcomes in European countries.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Blood Glucose / analysis
  • Blood Pressure
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / mortality
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Cholesterol / analysis
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Europe / epidemiology
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Female
  • Health Status Indicators*
  • Humans
  • Italy / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Activity
  • Risk Factors
  • Smoking / epidemiology


  • Blood Glucose
  • Cholesterol