AHA updates cardiovascular health checklist

The American Heart Association (AHA) has updated its checklist to measure cardiovascular health, adding sleep as an essential part of overall heart and brain health, along with other additional changes.

This update is a revision of the original checklist published in 2010. The updated checklist is now intended for use on individuals 2 years of age or older.

Among the updated recommendations:

  • The recommended daily average sleep per day for adults is 7 to 9 hours. A total of 10 to 16 hours is recommended for children 5 years of age or younger, 9 to 12 hours for children 6 to 12 years of age, and 8 to 10 hours for adolescents 13 to 18 years of age.
  • A new guide to nutritional assessment now measures nutritional quality at the individual level and at the population level.
  • Nicotine exposure now includes the use of inhaled nicotine delivery systems, such as e-cigarettes and vaping devices.
  • Blood lipids should not be controlled by using non-HDL cholesterol instead of total cholesterol.
  • Blood glucose readings now include hemoglobin A1c readings or blood glucose readings to better reflect long-term glycemic control.

In addition, the authors updated the scoring algorithm for each metric, ranging from 0 to 100. The overall cardiovascular score consists of the average of the scores from each health measure. Individuals with scores below 50 are categorized as having “poor” cardiovascular health, from 50 to 79 as “moderate” health, and 80 and above as “high” health.

“Life’s Simple 7 has served as a proven, powerful tool for understanding healthy aging and ways to improve cardiovascular health while reducing the risk of developing heart disease and stroke, as well as cancer, dementia and many other chronic diseases.” concluded AHA President Donald M. Lloyd-Jones, MD, ScM, FAHA. “Given the evolving research, it was important to address some of the limitations of the original statistics, particularly in the way they have been applied to people of different racial and ethnic populations.”

—Jessica Ganga


  1. Lloyd-Jones DM, Allen NB, Anderson CAM, et al; The American Heart Foundation. Life’s Essential 8: Updating and Improving the American Heart Association’s Construct of Cardiovascular Health: A Presidential Opinion of the American Heart Association. Circulation. Published online Jun 29, 2022. doi:10.1161/CIR.0000000000001078
  2. American Heart Association adds sleep to cardiovascular health checklist. American Heart Foundation. June 29, 2022. Accessed July 8, 2022. newsroom.heart.org/news/american-heart-association-adds-sleep-to-cardiovascular-health-checklist?preview=1594
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