Hypertension refers to a condition when blood flows through the blood vessels with a force greater than normal, due to which the arteries have persistently elevated blood pressure. It is dangerous because it can lead to strokes, heart attacks, heart failure, or kidney disease. Lifestyle factors can affect hypertension. A new study has revealed that dining out frequently could raise an individual's blood pressure levels due to the high salt and calorie content in food. The researchers from the Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School Singapore (Duke-NUS) found that eating even one extra meal out, raised the odds of pre-hypertension by 6%.
Researchers studied the association between meals eaten away from home and high blood pressure. They surveyed 501 university-going young adults aged 18 to 40 years in Singapore. Data on blood pressure, body mass index (BMI) and lifestyle, including meals eaten away from home and physical activity levels, were collected. Their association with high blood pressure was then determined.
Using statistical analysis, the team found that pre-hypertension was found in 27.4% of the total population, and 38% ate more than 12 meals away from home per week; while the gender breakdown showed that pre-hypertension was more prevalent in men (49%) than in women (9%). Participants who had pre-hypertension or hypertension were more likely to eat more meals away from home per week, have a higher mean BMI, have lower mean physical activity levels, and be current smokers.
Professor Tazeen Jafar said, "Our research plugged that gap and highlights lifestyle factors associated with pre-hypertension and hypertension that are potentially modifiable, and would be applicable to young adults globally, especially those of Asian descent."
This study appears online in the American Journal of Hypertension.