What are the most important numbers to know when it comes to your risk of heart disease? You might say your blood pressure, or cholesterol, or weight—and you’re right that all of those can be valuable clues. But according to researchers, there may be another figure that’s equally important: your so-called fitness number.
In a new study, this easy-to-do calculation (there’s an app for it!) was enough to accurately predict participants’ risk of premature death from cardiovascular diseases and other causes. “With the increase in lifestyle-related diseases around the world, estimated fitness is an easy, cost-effective method that could significantly help medical professionals identify people at high risk,” said co-author Carl J. Lavie, MD, professor of medicine at the John Ochsner Heart and Vascular Institute, in a press release.