Objectives. We estimated the distribution of predicted long-term cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk among young adults in the United States.
Methods. Our data were derived from National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health participants (n = 14 333; average age: 28.9 years). We used a Framingham-derived risk prediction function to calculate 30-year risks of "hard" and "general" CVD by gender and race/ethnicity.
Results. Average 30-year risks for hard and general CVD were 10.4% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 10.1%, 10.7%) and 17.3% (95% CI = 17.0%, 17.7%) among men and 4.4% (95% CI = 4.3%, 4.6%) and 9.2% (95% CI = 8.9%, 9.5%) among women. Average age-adjusted risks of hard and general CVD were higher among Blacks and American Indians than among Whites and lower among Asian/Pacific Islander women than White women. American Indian men continued to have a higher risk of general CVD after adjustment for socioeconomic status. Four percent of women (95% CI = 3.6%, 5.0%) and 26.2% of men (95% CI = 24.7%, 27.8%) had a 20% or higher risk of general CVD. Racial differences were detected but were not significant after adjustment for socioeconomic status.
Conclusions. Average CVD risk among young adults is high. Population-based prevention strategies and improved detection and treatment of high-risk individuals are needed to reduce the future burden of CVD.