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.
The purpose of this study was to investigate U.S. trends in optimal cardiometabolic health from 1999 to 2018.
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.
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: from 33.8% to 24.0%; poor levels: 47.7% to 61.9%) and glucose (optimal levels: 59.4% to 36.9%; poor levels: 8.6% to 13.7%) (P trend <0.001 for each). Optimal levels of blood lipids increased from 29.9% to 37.0%, whereas poor decreased from 28.3% to 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.
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.