February is American Heart Month, an initiative of the American Heart Association(AHA) to raise funds for research and education and pass along information about heart disease and stroke. Many American National Standards and International Standards alike support AHA recommendations for a healthy lifestyle that reduces the risk of a heart attack.

Exercise and fitness are a critical component of heart health, according to the AHA. During cold winter months, exercise machines in the home or gym are a convenient way to work out while staying warm. An American National Standard (ANS) from ASTM International, a member and audited designator of the American National Standards Institute(ANSI), helps to ensure the safety and stability of treadmills. ASTM F2106-03, Standard Test Methods for Evaluating Design and Performance Characteristics of Motorized Treadmills, specifies procedures and equipment used for testing and evaluating stability, endurance, overheating, and user interface of treadmills, among other important factors.

Adults aren’t the only ones who need to exercise regularly for optimum heart health. An active lifestyle has clear benefits for the whole family, but it may take a more fun activity to get kids away from the television and into action. Swimming is a popular fitness activity for children, and its benefits can be reaped as easily from playful water games as they can from doing laps, either indoors or out. In the U.S., many ANS for swimming pools have been developed by the Association of Pool and Spa Professionals(APSP), an ANSI member and accredited standards developer. ANSI/NSPI 1-2003, Public Swimming Pools, provides guidelines for conventional pools, pools for competition, and wading pools, ensuring the safety of swimmers of all sizes. For homes with inground pools, ANSI/NSPI 5-2003, Residential Inground Swimming Pools, covers specifications for pool design, equipment, operation, installation, new construction, and rehabilitation.

Finally, the AHA states that good nutrition is key for a healthy heart. The following International Standards from the International Organization for Standardization(ISO) Technical Committee (TC) 34, Food products, offer guidelines for determining the fat content of foods, including meat, milk, and cheese. Testing and analytical methods like these help to increase the accuracy of food labeling protocols the world over, giving consumers the tools they need to better understand and follow a heart-healthy nutrition plan:

  1. ISO 1444:1996, Meat and meat products – Determination of free fat content
  2. ISO 11870:2009, Milk and milk products – Determination of fat content – General guidance on the use of butyrometric methods
  3. ISO 1735:2004, Cheese and processed cheese products – Determination of fat content – Gravimetric method (Reference method)

The ANSI-accredited Technical Advisory Group (TAG) administrator of this TC is the American Oil Chemists’ Society(AOCS), an ANSI member.

Eating right and being active are important ways to support a healthy heart. To learn more about American Heart Month, visit the American Heart Association Web site