Cardiovascular Health

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 comes as a revision to the initial checklist published in 2010. The updated checklist is now intended for use in individuals aged 2 years or older.

Among the updated recommendations:

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

Additionally, the authors updated the scoring algorithm for each metric ranging from 0 to 100. The overall cardiovascular score consists of the average of 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 how to achieve healthy aging and ways to improve cardiovascular health while decreasing the risks 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 to the original metrics, particular in ways they’ve been applied to people from diverse racial and ethnic populations.”


—Jessica Ganga


  1. Lloyd-Jones DM, Allen NB, Anderson CAM, et al; The American Heart Association. Life’s essential 8: updating and enhancing the American Heart Association’s construct of cardiovascular health: a presidential advisory from the American Heart Association. Circulation. Published online June 29, 2022. doi:10.1161/CIR.0000000000001078
  2. American Heart Association adds sleep to cardiovascular health checklist. American Heart Association. June 29, 2022. Accessed July 8, 2022.