Dining Out May Be Linked To High Blood Pressure in Young People

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Young people who eat out often are more likely to have high blood pressure than their counterparts who cook their own food, according to a new study in the American Journal of Hypertension.

The study, which looked at more than 500 university students in Singapore, found that one additional meal eaten away from home correlates with a more than 5% increase in the chance of having prehypertension, or slightly elevated blood pressure. Researchers explained that meals eaten out typically contain more calories, saturated fat and salt than homemade meals. All three of those factors have been shown to cause high blood pressure.

Overall, 38% of students ate at least 12 meals, or around half of the total meals in a week, away from home each week and half of the male participants had prehypertension, compared with only 10% of the women.

The study authors note that the research doesn’t identify cause and effect and is likely more applicable to residents of South East Asia than elsewhere.

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Write to Justin Worland at justin.worland@time.com