Health Today Matters Tomorrow

Young adults not worried about heart disease and stroke

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) It can be hard these days to know what's healthy and what's not. One food could be good for you today but raise your risk of disease tomorrow. Some habits are obviously unhealthy. While lots of young people have these bad habits, they think they're living healthily.

Nine out of 10 young adults in the United States think that they have a healthy lifestyle. Yet these young people are increasing their risk of stroke by eating too much fast food, drinking to much alcohol, and other unhealthy behaviors.

"College-aged kids think they're healthy, when they're not."

According to Ralph Sacco, M.D., president of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, these findings show that young adults do not realize how much their behaviors today can impact their risk for stroke and heart disease later.

Starting healthy habits now, says Sacco, can be very important for your health as you enter middle age.

The survey by the American Stroke Association also found that most young adults want to live long healthy lives. If these young people do not learn the connection between their health today and their health tomorrow, then rates of stroke are likely to go up over the next couple decades, Sacco warns.

The Study

  • Sacco and colleagues conducted a survey of 1,240 Americans from 18 to 44 years of age
  • The survey looked at participants' attitudes about health and risk of stroke
  • The majority of 18-24 year olds said they wanted to live long healthy lives
  • One-third of those surveyed do not believe that their behaviors now could impact their risk of stroke in the future
  • 18 percent of those surveyed could not name even one risk factor for stroke
  • 22 percent of 35-44 year olds said they were not concerned about heart-related problems such as heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, high cholesterol, diabetes, and stroke
  • 36 percent of 25-34 year olds said they were not concerned about heart-related problems
  • Of all the people surveyed, 18-24 year olds were least concerned about heart disease
Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
May 3, 2011
Last Updated:
May 3, 2011