June 4, 2024 – By 2050, more than 6 in 10 U.S. adults will have  heart disease, according to a new projection by the American Heart  Association.

The report, published this week in the journal Circulation,  is a prediction that Americans are unlikely to make major health and  lifestyle changes during the next 3 decades to reduce their risk of  health problems like heart attacks, strokes, heart disease, heart  failure, irregular heart rhythm, or problems with their blood vessels.  The figures also position heart disease and stroke to remain among the top causes of death in the U.S.

“The  findings of these important advisories predict a dire human and  economic toll from heart disease and stroke if changes are not made,”  American Heart Association Chief Executive Officer Nancy Brown said in  a statement. “However, this does not have to be the reality of our future.”

The  Heart Association suggests eight lifestyle and health areas people can  focus on to reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease:

  • Getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night
  • Following a Mediterranean or DASH diet
  • Getting at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week
  • Managing blood sugar and diabetes risk
  • Maintaining a healthy weight with a body mass index of less than 25
  • Keeping non-HDL cholesterol levels below 130 mg/dL
  • Keeping blood pressure below 120/80 mmHg
  • Not smoking or vaping

The Heart Association report predicts that twice as many people  will have strokes in 2050, compared to just 10 million in 2020. High  blood pressure will affect 61% of adults, and diabetes rates will rise  from 16% to 27%. Obesity will affect 61% of people in 2050, up from 43%  in 2020.

The report authors noted some positive  expected changes in heart-healthy behavior, including that more people  will get enough physical activity over the next 30 years. But in 2050, 1  in 4 people will still not have a healthy activity level. Cigarette  smoking is predicted to decline, but 8% of people will likely still  smoke. Dietary changes are not widely expected, and an estimated 150  million people in the U.S. will eat what the association considers a  poor diet.