Trends and Disparities in Cardiometabolic Health Among U.S. Adults, 1999-2018

J Am Coll Cardiol. 2022 Jul 12;80(2):138-151. doi: 10.1016/j.jacc.2022.04.046.


Background: Few studies have assessed U.S. cardiometabolic health trends-optimal levels of multiple risk factors and absence of clinical cardiovascular disease (CVD)-or its impact on health disparities.

Objectives: The purpose of this study was to investigate U.S. trends in optimal cardiometabolic health from 1999 to 2018.

Methods: We assessed proportions of adults with optimal cardiometabolic health, based on adiposity, blood glucose, blood lipids, blood pressure, and clinical CVD; and optimal, intermediate, and poor levels of each component among 55,081 U.S. adults in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

Results: In 2017-2018, only 6.8% (95% CI: 5.4%-8.1%) of U.S. adults had optimal cardiometabolic health, declining from 1999-2000 (P trend = 0.02). Among components of cardiometabolic health, the largest declines were for adiposity (optimal levels: 33.8%-24.0%; poor levels: 47.7%-61.9%) and glucose (optimal levels: 59.4%-36.9%; poor levels: 8.6%-13.7%) (P trend <0.001 for each). Optimal levels of blood lipids increased from 29.9%-37.0%, whereas poor decreased from 28.3%-14.7% (P trend <0.001). Trends over time for blood pressure and CVD were smaller. Disparities by age, sex, education, and race/ethnicity were evident in all years, and generally worsened over time. By 2017-2018, prevalence of optimal cardiometabolic health was lower among Americans with lower (5.0% [95% CI: 2.8%-7.2%]) vs higher education (10.3% [95% CI: 7.6%-13.0%]); and among Mexican American (3.2% [95% CI: 1.4%-4.9%]) vs non-Hispanic White (8.4% [95% CI: 6.3%-10.4%]) adults.

Conclusions: Between 1999 and 2000 and 2017 and 2018, U.S. cardiometabolic health has been poor and worsening, with only 6.8% of adults having optimal cardiometabolic health, and disparities by age, sex, education, and race/ethnicity. These novel findings inform the need for nationwide clinical and public health interventions to improve cardiometabolic health and health equity.

Keywords: cardiometabolic health; diabetes; health disparities; metabolic syndrome; obesity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Pressure
  • Cardiovascular Diseases*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Mexican Americans
  • Nutrition Surveys
  • Obesity
  • Risk Factors
  • United States / epidemiology