Singapore: People who dine out frequently are more likely to develop high blood pressure, a new study on young adults has found. Eating meals away from home have been shown to be associated with higher caloric intake, higher saturated fat intake and higher salt intake. These eating patterns are thought to cause high blood pressure.
Professor Tazeen Jafar from the Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School Singapore (Duke-NUS) designed and supervised a study to find behaviours associated with hypertension in a young adult population in Southeast Asia.
Her team, including Duke-NUS medical student Dominique Seow, surveyed 501 university-going young adults aged 18 to 40 years in Singapore.
Data on blood pressure, body mass index and lifestyle, including meals eaten away from home and physical activity levels, were collected. Their association with hypertension, or high blood pressure, was then determined.
Using statistical analysis, the team found that pre-hypertension, or slightly elevated blood pressure, was found in 27.4 per cent of the total population, and 38 per cent ate more than 12 meals away from home per week; while the gender breakdown showed that pre-hypertension was more prevalent in men (49 per cent) than in women (9 per cent).
Those who had pre-hypertension or hypertension were more likely to eat more meals away from home per week, have a higher mean body mass index, have lower mean physical activity levels, and be current smokers.
Even eating one extra meal out, raised the odds of prehypertension by 6 per cent.
“While there have been studies conducted in the United States and Japan to find behaviours associated with hypertension, very few have surveyed a Southeast Asian population,” said Jafar.
“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,” Jafar said.
The study was published in the American Journal of Hypertension.