In 2010, the American Heart Association defined a novel construct of cardiovascular health to promote a paradigm shift from a focus solely on disease treatment to one inclusive of positive health promotion and preservation across the life course in populations and individuals. Extensive subsequent evidence has provided insights into strengths and limitations of the original approach to defining and quantifying cardiovascular health. In response, the American Heart Association convened a writing group to recommend enhancements and updates. The definition and quantification of each of the original metrics (Life's Simple 7) were evaluated for responsiveness to interindividual variation and intraindividual change. New metrics were considered, and the age spectrum was expanded to include the entire life course. The foundational contexts of social determinants of health and psychological health were addressed as crucial factors in optimizing and preserving cardiovascular health. This presidential advisory introduces an enhanced approach to assessing cardiovascular health: Life's Essential 8. The components of Life's Essential 8 include diet (updated), physical activity, nicotine exposure (updated), sleep health (new), body mass index, blood lipids (updated), blood glucose (updated), and blood pressure. Each metric has a new scoring algorithm ranging from 0 to 100 points, allowing generation of a new composite cardiovascular health score (the unweighted average of all components) that also varies from 0 to 100 points. Methods for implementing cardiovascular health assessment and longitudinal monitoring are discussed, as are potential data sources and tools to promote widespread adoption in policy, public health, clinical, institutional, and community settings.
Keywords: AHA Scientific Statements; health promotion; healthy lifestyle; life change events; public health; social determinants of health.