Background: In 2010, the American Heart Association defined ideal cardiovascular health as the simultaneous presence of 4 favorable health behaviors (nonsmoking, ideal body mass index, physical activity at goal, and dietary pattern that promotes cardiovascular health) and 3 favorable health factors (ideal levels of total cholesterol, blood pressure, and fasting glucose). The association between a change in ideal cardiovascular health status and pulse wave velocity, a surrogate marker of cardiovascular disease, has not been reported.
Methods and results: The study cohort consisted of 1143 white adults from the Cardiovascular Risk in Young Finns Study who were followed for 21 years since baseline (1986). This cohort was divided in 2 subgroups: 803 participants (aged 9 to 18 years at baseline) to study the health status change from childhood to adulthood and 340 participants (aged 21 to 24 years at baseline) to study health status change from young adulthood to middle age. The change in the ideal cardiovascular health index was inversely associated with pulse wave velocity (adjusted for age, sex, and heart rate), every 1-point increase corresponded to a 0.09-m/s (P<0.001) decrease in pulse wave velocity in both groups. This association remained significant in subgroups based on the ideal cardiovascular health index at baseline.
Conclusions: The change in ideal cardiovascular health status, both from childhood to adulthood and from young adulthood to middle age, was an independent predictor of adult pulse wave velocity. Our results support the concept of ideal cardiovascular health as a useful tool for primordial prevention of cardiovascular disease.
Keywords: epidemiology; ideal cardiovascular health; pulse wave velocity.