A waitress clears a table at a restaurant in central London / Carl Court/Getty Images

Pre-hypertension is more prevalent in men than in women

There is a direct connection between the consumption of restaurant food and raised blood pressure, according to research conducted in Singapore.

A study of university students, undertaken by scientists from the Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School Singapore (Duke NUS), has shown that those who eat out often consume higher levels of salt, calories and saturated fat than they would if eating at home.

This consumption lead a significant proportion of the students surveyed to experience pre- hypertension – and young adults with pre-hypertension are at very high risk of developing hypertension.

Dr Jafar, of the Health Services and Systems Programme at Duke-NUS, said: “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.

 “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.”

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A chef prepares dumplings in a restaurant in China Town

The research, which analysed a sample of 500 people aged between 18 and 40, found that 27.4% of those examined were suffering from pre-hypertension, with 38% of the group eating more than 12 meals away from home per week.

The report noted that pre-hypertension was also more prevalent in men (49%) than in women (9%).

In order to reach their conclusions, the scientists collected data on blood pressure, body mass index and lifestyle, including physical activity levels.

Eating out, smoking, being overweight and having low activity levels were determined as the variables most likely to bring on the condition.

Dr Jafar's team plans to lead a related study on prevention of hypertension among young adults in Singapore.

This study was published in the American Journal of Hypertension and was supported by the Duke-NUS Signature Research Programme, with funding from the Singapore Ministry of Health.

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