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Most US adults have poor cardiovascular health, and more people are at risk for heart attacks and strokes today than was true a generation ago, a US study suggests.

While black adults no longer lag behind white people in cardiovascular health as much as they once did, this is because of worsening health among white people rather than gains for blacks, the study also found.

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For the study, researchers examined nationally representative survey data collected from 1988 to 2014 from US adults aged 25 and older who didn’t have a history of cardiovascular disease.

Even among the youngest people in the study, ranging in age from 25 to 44, the proportion of people with optimal heart health never exceeded 40 percent of whites, 25 percent of Mexican-Americans and 15 percent of African-Americans.

“The cardiovascular health of the US started out low and has fallen,” said lead study author Dr. Arleen Brown of the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles.

“African-Americans had lower cardiovascular health than whites over the entire period studied, especially in the youngest adults,” Brown said by email “Mexican-Americans had lower optimal cardiovascular health in most time points, but this was less consistent than the black-white difference.”

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