According to the American Heart Association’s new report, Americans are not taking care of their hearts. In the last 30 years, women have increased their calorie consumption by 22 percent and men by 10 percent, with carbohydrates and sugar-sweetened beverages rising dramatically. Unfortunately, the result is that two-thirds of U.S. adults and about one-third of children are over the ideal body weight, the extra layers of fat are putting a major strain on Americans' hearts. The trend is particularly concerning in children where about 20 percent of U.S. children are obese today, compared with just 4 percent 30 years ago. Generally speaking, both adults children are not exercising enough and about 21 percent of men and 18 percent of women still smoke. About one-fifth of high school students also have taken up the smoking habit. This is disturbing as heart disease is this nation's number-one killer.  The report which appeared online in the journal Circulation, looked at seven markers of cardiovascular health: smoking, weight, exercise, diet, cholesterol, blood pressure and fasting blood sugar levels, as well as whether or not a person had a diagnosis of heart disease. Using those criteria, 94 percent of U.S. adults have at least one risk factor for heart disease. For example, one-third of U.S. adults have high blood pressure while 15 percent have high cholesterol. Oddly enough, the death rate from cardiovascular disease fell almost 31 percent in the last decade, although it still accounts for one in three deaths each year. Stroke rates also dropped nearly 35 percent, making it now the fourth leading cause of death rather than the third. Researchers state these gains are largely due to better treatments rather than lifestyle improvements. People still have heart attacks but the survival rate is better due to technology not necessarily diet. Advances include better surgical techniques as well as cholesterol-lowering drugs. Physicians agree that lifestyle changes need to be taken seriously and that exercise and diet are critical to health.  A moderate diet containing an appropriate amount of calories to maintain your weight, lower levels of saturated fat and fewer overall carbohydrates, including sugars will provide less overall fat to be deposited in your body. An active lifestyle can help keep your heart in good condition by helping your burn those calories and metabolize your food intake.   Yours in Good Health, Linda Hlivka Clinical Nutritionist