Anyone of any age can prevent heart disease by adopting a healthy eating and diet plan early, according to the American Heart Association. That means choosing foods that are low in cholesterol, salt, sugar and bad fats, such as saturated fats and trans fats. Eating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables along with good protein sources, such as nuts and lean meats, is also important.
The American Heart Association's recommendation for exercise includes at least 150 minutes of moderate and 75 minutes of vigorous activity plus two days of strength training each week. Those who are age 60 or above should have an ankle-brachial index test to diagnose peripheral artery disease no less than every two years. The Centers for Disease Control recommends that a person maintain a body mass index of less than 30 or, ideally, less than 25. Anything above 30 is considered obese, and anything from 25 to 29.9 is considered overweight. Additionally, the CDC says that nearly 35,000 non-smokers die each year from heart disease related to second-hand smoke exposure and that exposure increases a non-smokers risk of heart disease up to 30 percent. Therefore, avoiding tobacco products, including second-hand smoke, is an important factor in preventing heart disease.