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Defining Optimal Brain Health in Adults

Published on: Nov 20 2017

A presidential advisory from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association proposes definitions for optimal brain health in adults.

Brain health image

Cognitive function is an important component of aging and predicts quality of life, functional independence, and risk of institutionalization. Cardiovascular disease risk factors have been shown to be closely associated with cognitive impairment and dementia. Because many cardiovascular risks are modifiable, it may be possible to maintain brain health and to prevent dementia in later life. This American Heart Association (AHA)/American Stroke Association presidential advisory provides a definition of optimal brain health in adults and guidance on how to maintain brain health.  They identified 7 metrics to define optimal brain health in adults: 4 ideal health behaviors (nonsmoking, physical activity at goal levels, healthy diet consistent with current guideline levels, and body mass index <25 kg/m2) and 3 ideal health factors (untreated blood pressure <120/<80 mm Hg, untreated total cholesterol <200 mg/dL, and fasting blood glucose <100 mg/dL). Furthermore, control of cardiovascular risks and social engagement and other related strategies are key.

For more information on nutrition strategies to support heart and brain health:

Nutrition considerations by life stage

National and Regional Dietary Health Guidelines

Tipping the Balance Toward Moderation

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Kerry Health And Nutrition Institute