Deaths linked to heart disease and stroke would be reduced 25 percent if people quit smoking, limited salt intake and adopted other healthy habits, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

At least 200,000 U.S. deaths a year from cardiovascular diseases are avoidable, with men twice as likely as women to die from such circumstance, and blacks succumbing at double the rate of whites, the CDC said Tuesday. Cardiovascular diseases are the leading causes of death in the United States, killing almost 800,000 people a year, the agency said. The rate of preventable deaths from heart disease and stroke fell 30 percent from 2001 to 2010, though there wasn't much improvement in those younger than 65, the CDC said. "Despite progress against heart disease and stroke, hundreds of thousands of Americans die each year from these preventable causes of death," CDC Director Thomas Frieden said. "Many of the heart attacks and strokes that will kill people in the coming year could be prevented by reducing blood pressure and cholesterol and stopping smoking."

The state with the lowest rate of avoidable cardiovascular deaths, at 36.3 per 100,000 people, is Minnesota, the report said. Washington, D.C., topped the list at 99.6 per 100,000. Black men have the most to be worried about with an avoidable death rate in 2010 that is about 80 percent higher than that of white males and black females, the CDC said. The rate of preventable heart disease or stroke deaths among black men was about 150 per 100,000 people, the CDC said.

Bloomberg news service