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Heart Health

Knowing Your "Heart Age" Leads to Healthier Behavior

People who know their “heart age” are likelier to engage in healthier behavior, according to a new study.

Researchers from the University of the Balearic Islands, Spain, analyzed behavior patterns among 3, 153 patients who were randomly assigned to three groups. All completed the same annual health assessment. One group was then given their risk of heart disease as a percentage risk, while another group was given their estimated “heart age.” The third group received only guidelines on healthy living. A year later, the researchers asked about the subjects’ resultant behavior.

The results showed that patients who had been told their heart disease risk, whether as a percentage or as a heart age, showed noticeable decreases in their risk scores. Improvement was greatest in the heart age group. The quit rate for smokers was four times greater in that group than in the group that had been told their percentage risk.

The findings were published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.

Researcher Dr Pedro Tauler said, "We know that traditional risks scores can be confusing. We wanted to test whether using the Heart Age Calculator to talk to patients about their…risk would have an effect on motivating them to adopt healthier lifestyles. This would suggest that the mere fact of presenting the patients with information that is easy to understand has a positive effect in engaging them to take preventive action.”

The heart age calculator is available at http://www.heartage.me/#/

 

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