Other cardiovascular risk calculators require that you enter information not everyone knows offhand. The new Healthy Heart Score, developed by researchers at Harvard School of Public Health, is based on day-to-day behaviors everyone is familiar with.
The online calculator computes risk based on data from almost 100,000 people involved in large-scale, long-term, health studies over the last few decades linking current and past lifestyle factors to future heart risk.
The program asks you to answer questions such as whether you are a current or former smoker, how many servings of fruits and vegetables you eat each day on average, and how often you engage in various intensities of exercise. Based on your answers, the calculator gives you your “Healthy Heart Score.” It can be low, moderate, or high.
The calculator also gives users tips about how to improve those important lifestyle factors, from adding a handful of nuts to your diet each day to substituting roasted poultry for processed, sliced deli meat in sandwiches.
So give it a try. You may be happy with your score — and if you’re not, remember this: The vast majority of heart disease is preventable. Heart risk comes overwhelmingly from those nine important lifestyle factors mentioned above. So even if your score is not what you’d like, changing your lifestyle in some very simple ways can change your risk.
The use of the calculator is free. You can find it here: https://healthyheartscore.sph.harvard.edu.
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