Belly fat and other measures of obesity affect heart health.
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Even modest improvements in the population’s overall heart health could make a significant dent in the number of cardiovascular disease cases.
Researchers focus on American Indians, "a special population that, unfortunately, is not always included in studies that show the benefit of physical activity."
Sugary drinks are the largest source of added sugars in U.S. diets, with about 60% of children and half of adults consuming them daily.
Heart disease rates are about 50% higher among the 5.2 million people in the United States who self-identify as American Indian and Alaska Native compared to their white counterparts.
The public is generally aware of the heart-healthy lifestyle, but many do not follow it, officials say.