Tags: weight | blood | pressure

Even a few Pounds Hike Blood Pressure

Wednesday, 12 September 2012 08:38 PM

The so-called “Freshman 15” – the extra pounds many students pack on in their first year of college – may do more than merely add to belt or dress size. A new University of Illinois study shows even a few extra pounds can raise blood pressure in young adults, and the effect is worse for women.
The findings, published in the journal Public Health, indicate as little as 1.5 pounds per year is enough to boost hypertension significantly in college-age individuals.
"In our study, a small weight gain was enough to raise a college student's systolic blood pressure by 3 to 5 points,” said Margarita Teran-Garcia, a professor of food science and human nutrition. “If young people continue to gain 1.5 pounds a year and think it doesn't matter, they're misleading themselves and increasing their risk for heart disease."
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For the study, researchers tracked 795 applicants – 18 to 20 years old – to the Universidad Autonoma de San Luis Potosi in Mexico. The study assessed changes in the students’ body weight, blood pressure, and glucose levels over 12 months.
They found changes in body weight increased blood pressure for both men and women. In the 25 percent of applicants who had a weight gain of 5 percent or more, that gain was associated with significantly higher levels of hypertension, especially among women.
"The good news is that the reverse was also true. Women who lost 5 percent of their body weight saw reductions in their blood pressure," Teran-Garcia said.
"We'd like to learn how much high blood pressure is caused by genetics and how much is lifestyle related and propose interventions for persons of Mexican descent in the United States who have a family history of hypertension and heart disease."
She added that the findings suggest doctors need to take weight gain and small increases in blood pressure in young people more seriously.
"There are very few programs that make college-age people aware of the health problems associated with even small weight gains and encourage them to make lifestyle changes to combat it. Physical activity is important, and many young adults are not getting the recommended 30 minutes to 1 hour a day of exercise," she said.
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Putting on only a small amount of extra weight can hike blood pressure in young adults.
Wednesday, 12 September 2012 08:38 PM
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