The findings of a new study have revealed a link between meals consumed from restaurants and fast food joints and an increased risk of hypertension.
The researchers found that individuals who eat out tend to consume a lot of calories, saturated fats and salt, all of which strongly contribute to high blood pressure.
Hypertension is an underrated health concern that can significantly elevate the risk of several other health problems including type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease as well.
For the study, the researchers took a look at eating behaviors that increased the risk of hypertension in 500 participants between 18 to 40 years of age.
The researchers also considered the body mass index levels and lifestyle factors of these subjects, and calculated the total number of meals they consumed at home and outside, and the levels of physical activity as well.
They detected pre-hypertension in around 27.4% of the participants, and discovered that 38% of the subjects dined out more than 12 times a week.
Moreover, it was also revealed that men were much more likely to dine out than women- 49% of the men opted eating out as opposed to just 9% women.
The researchers also found that the subjects who displayed pre-hypertension most likely ate out, and had a higher BMI and low physical activity levels as opposed to those who had normal blood pressure levels.
They further discovered that a single extra meal out every week could raise hypertension risk 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,” the researchers say. “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.”
Spreading awareness about the downside of eating out and consuming foods high in sodium and fats could be a good way to cut down these instances. Young adults could also be advised to implement lifestyle changes and include healthy eating and exercise as a part of their daily routine.