Improvements in cardiovascular disease (CVD) rates among young adults in the past 2 decades have been offset by increasing racial/ethnic and gender disparities, persistence of unhealthy lifestyle habits, overweight and obesity, and other CVD risk factors. To enhance the promotion of cardiovascular health among young adults 18 to 39 years old, the medical and broader public health community must understand the biological, interpersonal, and behavioral features of this life stage. Therefore, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, with support from the Office of Behavioral and Social Science Research, convened a 2-day workshop in Bethesda, Maryland, in September 2017 to identify research challenges and opportunities related to the cardiovascular health of young adults. The current generation of young adults live in an environment undergoing substantial economic, social, and technological transformations, differentiating them from prior research cohorts of young adults. Although the accumulation of clinical and behavioral risk factors for CVD begins early in life, and research suggests early risk is an important determinant of future events, few trials have studied prevention and treatment of CVD in participants <40 years old. Building an evidence base for CVD prevention in this population will require the engagement of young adults, who are often disconnected from the healthcare system and may not prioritize long-term health. These changes demand a repositioning of existing evidence-based treatments to accommodate new sociotechnical contexts. In this article, the authors review the recent literature and current research opportunities to advance the cardiovascular health of today's young adults.
Keywords: cardiovascular disease prevention; cardiovascular disease risk factors; primary prevention; young adults.
J Am Heart Assoc (2020) 9(19):e016115
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