According to a recent study, only seven percent of the adult population in the United States has a low cardiometabolic risk. The researchers identified significant differences between people of different sexes, ages, ethnicities and educational levels.

Between 1999 and 2018, a team of nutrition researchers at Tufts University studied a nationally representative sample of 55,000 people aged 20 years and older. 

Their study assessed participants on the basis of five main metabolic components – blood pressure, blood glucose, cholesterol, nutritional status and the possible presence of cardiovascular disease.

They found that in 2017-2018, only 6.8 percent of adults were free of the above-mentioned metabolic components.

Among the risk factors, there was also a significant worsening between 1999 and 2018 for obesity and blood glucose. In 1999, 1 in 3 adults had an adequate nutritional status (no overweight or obesity); this number had decreased from 1 in 4 to 1 in 2018.

While in 1999, 3 in 5 adults were not diagnosed with diabetes or prediabetes, in 2018, only 4 in 10 adults were completely healthy.

“These numbers are staggering. It’s deeply problematic that in the United States, one of the richest countries in the world, just 1 in 15 adults have an optimal cardiometabolic risk,” said Meghan O’Hearn, lead author of the study.

“We need a complete overhaul of our health system, our food system and our built environment, because this is a crisis for everyone, not just for one segment of the population.”

The researchers found significant differences in health between people of different genders, ages, races, ethnicities and educational levels.

Adults with lower levels of education, for example, were half as likely to have an optimal cardiometabolic risk as those with higher levels of education.

The consequences of poor health among American adults go beyond personal health: they have huge implications for health spending and the financial health of the economy as a whole, and could be largely preventable, the researchers concluded.

Source: The Health Sciences Campus, Tufts University