Public Release: 

Young heart health linked to better overall health in later years

American Heart Association

Maintaining a healthy heart while young may help prevent future disease and disability, according to research presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2014.

In this study spanning more than three decades, participants who were at low risk for heart and blood vessel disease when young adults were 60 percent less likely to report disability as older adults. To determine risk level, researchers used blood pressure, cholesterol and body mass index measurements, as well as diabetes and smoking status.

"People should adopt and maintain a healthy lifestyle at all ages," said Thanh Huyen T. Vu, M.D., Ph.D., study lead author and research assistant professor at Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois. "It is important that healthcare providers promote a healthy lifestyle early in life for their patients, as healthy lifestyle has been shown to be associated with favorable levels of cardiovascular disease risk factors."

Researchers correlated data from 3,669 men and 2,345 women from The Chicago Heart Association Detection Project in Industry with the participants' later responses to a 2003 health survey about functional disability and quality of life. Participants were aged 29-68 when the study began in 1967 to 1973.


Thanh Huyen T. Vu, M.D., Ph.D.; Northwestern University; Chicago, Illinois

Additional Resources

Available multimedia resources (photos/videos/graphics) are available on the right column of the release link

Treatment and Prevention of Atrial Fibrillation

Prevention and Treatment of Heart Failure

The Flu and Heart Disease

For more news from AHA's Scientific Sessions, follow us on Twitter @HeartNews #AHA14

Statements and conclusions of study authors that are presented at American Heart Association scientific meetings are solely those of the study authors and do not necessarily reflect association policy or position. The association makes no representation or warranty as to their accuracy or reliability. The association receives funding primarily from individuals; foundations and corporations (including pharmaceutical, device manufacturers and other companies) also make donations and fund specific association programs and events. The association has strict policies to prevent these relationships from influencing the science content. Revenues from pharmaceutical and device corporations are available at

For Media Inquiries

AHA News Media in Dallas: (214) 706-1173

AHA News Media Office, Nov. 15-19,

at the McCormick Place Convention Center: (312) 949-3400

For Public Inquiries: (800) AHA-USA1 (242-8721) and

Life is why we fund scientific breakthroughs that save and improve lives.

Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.