Findings of a recent study conducted by the scientists from the Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School Singapore suggest that eating out too frequently might be linked with hypertension or high blood pressure. They saw a strong connection between meals away from home and a higher saturated fat intake, a higher caloric intake as well as a higher salt intake, all of which are associated with high blood pressure.
For the purpose of this study, the researchers took a look at eating behaviors that increased the hypertension risk in 500 participants in the 18-40 age group. They took into account the body mass index (BMI) levels and lifestyle factors of these subjects. Additionally, they calculated the total number of meals they had taken at home and outside and their levels of physical activity.
After a detailed analysis, they were able to conclude that 27.4% of the participants had pre-hypertension. They also found that 38% of the subjects had dined out more than 12 times a week.
They also observed that men are much more likely to dine out than women- 49% of the men opted eating out as compared to only 9% in case of women.
In addition to the above, they also saw that pre-hypertensive subjects were the ones who ate out more frequently, had a higher BMI and low physical activity levels as opposed to those who had normal blood pressure levels.
A single extra meal out every week was found to raise the risk of hypertension by nearly 6%.
“While there have been studies conducted in the United States and Japan to find behaviors associated with hypertension, very few have surveyed a Southeast Asian population. Our research plugs 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,” said Tazeen Jafar, who authored the study, in a statement.
The scientists suggest spreading awareness about the downsides of eating out frequently and consuming high fat and high sodium foods to bring down blood pressure levels to normal limits. In addition to these, they also advocate the need to exercise regularly to stay healthy.
The findings were first published in the American Journal of Hypertension.