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Vital Sign

The next time your doctor checks your blood pressure, don’t be surprised if he or she also asks about your general aerobic-fitness levels.

How well your body delivers oxygen to its tissues may be just as important a risk factor for early death as traditional vital signs like high cholesterol or hypertension and lifestyle habits like smoking, according to a recent American Heart Association report. The finding is likely to encourage physicians to take a broader view of health risks — and lifestyle remedies.

There are a few ways to determine aerobic health, including digital fitness calculators. The most accurate is a VO2 max test, available at many health clubs.

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