Public Health News Roundup: November 7
Study: Hypertension in Young Adults Often Goes Undiagnosed
Younger adults are less likely than older adults to have their high blood pressure identified and treated, according to a study presented at the American Heart Association annual meeting in Los Angeles. Researchers found that after four years of doctor visits, 67 percent of people ages 18 to 24 were undiagnosed and 65 percent of those ages 25 to 31 were undiagnosed; only 54 percent of people 60 and older were undiagnosed. Treating hypertension early can help major medical problems such as heart attacks and strokes. "We know that once high blood pressure is diagnosed and young adults receive the treatment they need, they can achieve pretty high control rates," said Heather Johnson, MD, assistant professor of medicine in the cardiology division at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. Read more on heart health.
Simple Exercise Can Add Years to Your Life
Staying physically active after the age of 40 can increase a person’s lifespan two to seven years, according to a new study in the journal PLoS Medicine. Researchers at the National Cancer Institute analyzed studies covering approximately 650,000 people, concluding that exercise as simple as walking consistently every week can help prevent issues such as heart disease. "There is dose-response relationship between physical activity and life expectancy," said Steven Moore, a National Cancer Institute research fellow. "If you don't currently do any physical activity, doing just a few minutes of physical activity a day can result in a notable increase in life expectancy.” Read more on physical activity.
Eating At Restaurants Means Larger Portions, More Calories for Kids
Eating at fast food and other restaurants, rather than at home, increases children’s calorie intakes and contributes to U.S. obesity rates, according to a new study in Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine. Researchers found that about 40 percent of U.S. children eat at these kinds of restaurants every day. Contributing factors include large portion sizes and free soda refills. "It's no wonder kids are gaining weight and suffering from adult diseases such as high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes,” said Samantha Heller, an exercise physiologist and clinical nutrition coordinator at the Center for Cancer Care at Griffin Hospital in Derby, Conn. “We need to encourage people to cook at home more often and dispel the myth that eating at home is more expensive than eating out." Read more on nutrition.