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Young adults have a 'disconnect' between behavior and their health

May 02, 2011|By Shari Roan, Los Angeles Times
  • Young adults may not realize that their lifestyle habits now affect their risk of heart disease and stroke later in life.
Young adults may not realize that their lifestyle habits now affect their… (Ken Hively / Los Angeles…)

Young adults can't be expected to worry about having a heart attack or stroke. But they should consider that their lifestyle choices now may influence their health later, researchers said Monday.

The scientists conducted a survey of 1,248 Americans age 18 to 44 on their attitudes about health and behaviors. The majority of people age 25 to 44 said they felt they were living a healthy lifestyle. Younger participants -- age 18 to 24 -- don't appear to thinking clearly about their health, however. They strongly claimed that living a long, healthy life was important to them. On average, they said they wanted to live until age 98. But one-third said they don't believe that doing healthy things now, such as eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables or exercising, will make any difference in their risk of stroke and health disease in the future.

"This survey shows the dangerous disconnect that many young Americans have about how their behaviors affect their risks for stroke and other cardiovascular diseases," said the lead author of the study, Dr. Ralph Sacco, president of the American Heart Assn./American Stroke Assn., in a news release.

Young people need to understand that a healthy lifestyle now is an investment that will pay off later, he said. Tips for reducing the risk of stroke can be found on the website My Life Check. The survey was released by the American Heart Assn.

Related: Speculation about on-air stroke brings us to this lesson: Learn the signs

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