ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Climate Change Could Sting Allergy, Asthma Sufferers
Air Pollution May Raise Blood Pressure
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
U.S. Spends Billions On Alternative Medicine
Should Your Child Be Seeing a Chiropractor?
ANIMAL CARE
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Safe Toys for Dogs
Beware of Dog Bites
BONES & JOINTS
Most Kids With Type 1 Diabetes Lack Vitamin D
Heart Failure Raises Risk of Fractures
Drinking Cuts Rheumatoid Arthritis Risk
CANCER
Physical Activity May Prolong Survival After Colon Cancer
Want to Stop Cancer? You Can, Experts Say
Many Cancer Patients Turn to Complementary Medicine
CAREGIVING
Birthmark or Blood Vessel Problem?
More Than 60,000 Patients Risked Hepatitis Infections
Bariatric Surgery Centers Don't Deliver Better Outcomes
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
High Blood Fat Levels Common in Americans
Support Network May Play Role in Benefits of Drinking
Anemia Rates Down for U.S. Women and Children
COSMETIC
Contact Lenses Boost Kids' Self-Image
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
DENTAL, ORAL
Toothbrushing May Stave Off Heart Woes
Gum Disease Treatment Doesn't Cut Preterm Birth Risk
Holistic Dentistry-My View
DIABETES
Study Shows Turmeric May Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
Formula Puts Doctor, Patient Glucose Readings on Same Page
Doctors Urged to Screen Diabetics for Sleep Apnea
DIET, NUTRITION
Cinnamon Breaks Up Brain Plaques, May Hold Key to Fighting Alzheimer’s
Olive Oil May Be Key to Mediterranean Diet's Benefits
Atkins Diet Tougher on Heart After Weight Loss
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise
Greener Neighborhoods Mean Slimmer Children
Cats Can Trigger Eczema in Some Infants
EYE CARE, VISION
Unconscious Learning: In the Eye of the Beholder?
Glaucoma Associated With Reading Impairments in Elderly
Eye Problems, Hearing Loss May Be Linked
FITNESS
Exercise in Adolescence May Cut Risk of Deadly Brain Tumor
Exercise May Prevent Prostate Cancer: Study Shows
Yoga Can Ease Lower Back Pain
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
GENERAL HEALTH
Eating Lots Of Vegetables, Olive Oil May Extend Life
Green Spaces Boost the Body and the Mind
Proven Strategies for Avoiding Colds and the Flu
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Kids With Vitamin D Deficiency Linked to Heart Trouble
Shedding Light on Why Omega-3 Fatty Acids May Help the Heart
Small Cuts in Salt Intake Spur Big Drops in Heart Trouble
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Hand Washing 10 Times a Day May Help Keep Flu Away
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
Poor Restroom Cleaning Causes Cruise-Ship Sickness
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Eating Fish, Breast-Feeding Boost Infant Development
3 Home Habits Help Youngsters Stay Slim
Working Intensely Early on May Help Autistic Kids
MEN'S HEALTH
Drinking Green Tea May Slow Prostate Cancer
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
MENTAL HEALTH
How to Attack Holiday Stress Head-On
Meaningful Conversations Boost Kids' Language Skills
A Simple 'Thank You' Brings Rewards to All
PAIN
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
Exercise As Well As Acupuncture, May Ease Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Exercise Boosts Bone Density in Breast-Feeding Moms
SENIORS
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
Mediterranean Diet Plus Exercise Lowers Alzheimer's Risk
Martial Arts Training May Save Seniors' Hips
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Supplements Might Reduce Breast Cancer Risk
Supportive Weigh-In Program Keeps Pounds Off
Omega-3 May Reduce Endometriosis Risk
Add your Article

Smog Tougher on the Obese

(HealthDay News) -- Air pollution appears to hit the obese hardest, causing significant increases in blood pressure, a new study finds.

Air pollution has been linked to a variety of health problems including asthma, heart disease and diabetes, but this is the first time obesity has been taken into account, researchers say.

"For those who are obese, exposure to air pollution further exacerbated systolic blood pressure and pulse pressure," said lead researcher Srimathi Kannan, an assistant professor at the School of Public Health and Health Sciences of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

"When you are looking at environmental exposures and medical outcomes, you have to consider obesity," Kannan said.

The report is published in the Oct. 16 online edition of the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

For the study, Kannan and colleagues collected data on air pollution and health as part of the Healthy Environments Partnership study. The study looked at these factors in 919 households in areas of Detroit that included rich and poor neighborhoods and a mix of racial and ethnic groups.

Among the 348 people who had their blood tested and their weight, blood pressure, height and waist circumference measured, over half were obese and 57 percent had waist circumferences that put them at risk for diabetes and heart disease.

Among all those tested, 68 percent had high blood pressure or were on the edge of developing high blood pressure and 36 percent had high cholesterol, the researchers found.

Average levels of particulate matter air pollution were 15 micrograms per cubic meter in three of the places measured, but in one area the levels were 20 percent higher.

People who lived in the area with the greatest amount of air pollution had higher pulse pressure than those in other areas, the researchers found. Pulse pressure is the difference between the systolic and diastolic blood pressure, the top and bottom numbers in a reading.

In addition, people living in the smoggiest areas also had higher systolic blood pressure, and it didn't matter whether they were obese or of normal weight. However, the effect was greater among the obese, Kannan's team noted.

The researchers believe that individuals and society need to address the combined health threat of obesity and air pollution.

"Continued vigilance regarding regulation of emissions sources in communities of color and low-income communities is critical, combined with efforts to address obesity, in order to reduce well-established disparities in cardiovascular health," the researchers concluded.

Michael Jerrett, an associate professor of environmental health sciences at the School of Public Health of the University of California at Berkeley, said the study "is linking into the broader debates about underlying causes of death in our society."

For people who already have high blood pressure, diabetes or who are obese, air pollution may make these conditions worse, Jerrett said.

"You end up with this vicious cycle where someone becomes obese due to lifestyle and other factors, which actually becomes worsened by the air pollution," he said.

Jerrett noted that air pollution is only one environmental factor that contributes to worsening health. In addition, the poor are often exposed to more air pollution because of the neighborhoods they live in, he added.

"What comes along with the social deprivation is a cascade of other lifestyle and occupational factors that may also make the person more susceptible to air pollution's effects," he said.

Those factors can include poor nutrition, stress, traffic and industrial noise, Jerrett explained. "These can be heightening their sensitivity to air pollution," he said. "So many of these susceptibility factors cluster together in the same neighborhood, in the same person."

SOURCES: Srimathi Kannan, Ph.D., assistant professor, School of Public Health and Health Sciences, University of Massachusetts, Amherst; Michael Jerrett, Ph.D., associate professor, environmental health sciences, School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley; Oct. 16, 2009, Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health