Eating Out Raises Risk of High Blood Pressure

restaurant eating out increases blood pressure

Eating out has become a regular habit for most of us. It makes food preparation much more convenient as you don’t have to shop for grocery and spend time to cook in the kitchen.

Whatever the reason for enjoying more meals away from home, you may want to know that adding one extra meal away from home just once a week increases your risk of prehypertension by 6%.

A study published in the American Journal of Hypertension observed that young adults who had hypertension or pre-hypertension ate out more than those who didn’t have high blood pressure. They also found that these participants had higher body mass index, which is a measurement of one’s weight based on their height.

  • Hypertension or high blood pressure is defined as having a systolic blood pressure of 140 mmHg or higher, or a diastolic blood pressure of 90 mmHg or higher.
  • Prehypertension, is the stage just before one becomes hypertension. It also raises your risk of having high blood pressure in the future. Prehypertension is defined as having a systolic blood pressure of between 120 to 139 mmHg, or a diastolic blood pressure of between 80 to 89 mmHg.

Food served in restaurants and other similar establishments are often higher in calories, saturated fat and sodium content compared with home prepared meals. These factors contribute to increasing one’s high blood pressure.

High blood pressure affects over 70 million Americans. This figure puts it at nearly 1/3 of the population. Left untreated high blood pressure can lead to very serious health issues like heart disease as well as kidney disease.


The Study

The research, which was performed by the Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School in Singapore, found that in university students aged between 18 and 40 years old,

  • 28% of the study population has prehypertension
  • Of the 28% with prehypertension, 38% ate more than 12 meals in restaurants weekly
  • Prehypertension was also more prevalent in men, at 49% compared to 9% in women

The 501 participants allowed researches to conclude that those who had high blood pressure as well as those who are pre-hypertensive were more likely to eat more meals at home. These individuals also had low levels of physical activity and higher body mass index.


More and More People Are Eating Out

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), spending on food away from home has risen from 26% during 1970 to over 43% by 2012.

The larger servings offered at food establishments as well as higher amounts of sodium, calories and fat in the dishes served there have contributed to the prevalence of high blood pressure and obesity.

Eating out however, has become more prevalent as household incomes have increased over the years as well as restaurant food becoming more accessible and affordable.