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Lloyd-Jones, also chair of the preventive medicine department at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine, said, "People I think are far too accepting of their waistlines."
Thomas praises the online tool for giving people a score so they'll have something to work toward. It offers advice for problem areas: for instance, advising someone who's over weight to set a goal of losing a pound a week by burning up to 3,500 more calories than are taken in.
Yancy, the heart association president and medical director of the Baylor Heart and Vascular Institute in Dallas, said the organization has a goal for 2020 of improving cardiovascular health of Americans by 20 percent while reducing deaths from cardiovascular diseases and stroke by 20 percent.
He said that in the last decade, there's already been a nearly 40 percent reduction in death from heart disease and a nearly 35 percent reduction in death from stroke. He said those goals were achieved with improvements in treatments and prevention.
Linda Alvarado, 54, of Houston, said she knows how hard -- and important -- the changes can be. After having a quadruple bypass at the age of 47, she improved her diet and exercise, losing 40 pounds. Recently though, with a new 40-minute commute, some of those diet and exercise commitments have been put aside. While she's kept the lost pounds off, she would like to lose five more pounds.
"It's really up to you," Alvarado said.
On the Net:
American Heart Association's My Life Check, http://www.heart.org/MyLifeCheck/
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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