The health of the United States has hit a new low, with millions of Americans at risk for heart disease and stroke.
With the way things are heading, experts predict that today's children will not live as long as their parents, making it the first time that a generation's life expectancy has dropped.
By 2020, the American Heart Association hopes to improve the cardiovascular health of all Americans, while reducing deaths from cardiovascular diseases and stroke by 20 percent, by emphasizing the importance of keeping up with seven heart-healthy factors:
. Being active: Nearly 70 percent of Americans do not get adequate physical activity. The American Heart Association encourages adults to get 30 minutes of moderate physical activity five days a week, and children to get 60 minutes.
. Controlling cholesterol: Get your cholesterol screened. If your cholesterol is 200 mg/dL or higher, you need to take action.
. Eating healthy: Incorporate fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fish into your diet.
. Monitoring blood pressure: A normal read is less than 120 mm Hg systolic and less than 80 mm Hg diastolic.
. Maintaining a healthy weight: Your body mass index should be below 25.
. Reducing blood sugar: If your fasting blood sugar level is below 100, you are in the healthy range.
. Dropping the tobacco: Cigarette smokers have a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease, so if you smoke, stop.
- Source: American Heart Association