ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Using Music and Sports to Improve Kids' Asthma
Molecule in Skin May Link Eczema and Asthma
New Spray Could Benefit Cystic Fibrosis Patients
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Health Tip: Anticipating Acupuncture
Acupuncture May Help Restore Lost Sense of Smell
38% of U.S. Adults Use Alternative Treatments
ANIMAL CARE
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Beware of Dog Bites
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
BONES & JOINTS
Fall Sports Peak Time for Lower Leg Damage
Varicose, Spider Veins May Be Inevitable for Some
Rheumatoid Arthritis Rising Among U.S. Women
CANCER
Scams and Shams That Prey on Cancer Patients
Poor Women Seem to Be Skipping Breast Cancer Drugs
Gene Studies Reveal Cancer's Secrets
CAREGIVING
Newborn Screenings Now Required Across U.S.
Omega-3 Fatty Acid May Help 'Preemie' Girls' Brains
Exercise During Pregnancy May Help Baby
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
Laughter Can Boost Heart Health
Exercise May Blunt Salt's Effect on Hypertension
COSMETIC
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
DENTAL, ORAL
Health Tip: At Risk for Gingivitis
Acid Drinks Blamed for Increase in Tooth Erosion
Toothbrushing May Stave Off Heart Woes
DIABETES
Older Diabetics With Depression Face Higher Death Rate
Abnormal Heart Rhythm Boosts Death Risk for Diabetics
Red-Grape Compound May Improve Diabetes
DIET, NUTRITION
Trans-Fat Ban In New York City Is Proving successful
Eating in America Still Unhealthy
Milk Destroys Antioxidant Benefits in Blueberries
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Household Chemicals May Affect Cholesterol Levels
Hypertension May Hit Black Males Earlier
Cleaning House May Be Risky for Women With Asthma
EYE CARE, VISION
Time Teaches Brain to Recognize Objects
Nearly 18 Million Will Have Macular Degeneration by 2050
Poor Night Vision May Predict Age-Related Eye Disease
FITNESS
Exercise May Prevent Prostate Cancer: Study Shows
Antioxidants Blunt Exercise Benefit, Study Shows
Weak Muscles May Cause 'Runner's Knee'
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
GENERAL HEALTH
Eating Well And Keeping Active As You Grow Old Will Help You Stay Sharp
New Options Offered for Sleep Apnea
To Quit Smoking, Try Logging On
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Ingredient in Dark Chocolate Could Guard Against Stroke
Heart Disease May Be Prevented By Taking Fish Oils, Study Shows
Small Cuts in Salt Intake Spur Big Drops in Heart Trouble
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
Poor Restroom Cleaning Causes Cruise-Ship Sickness
Dry Weather Boosts Odds of Flu Outbreaks
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Scary Toxins Make Halloween Face Paints Questionable
Exercise Helps Reduce Falls in Young and Old
Heart Defects in Newborns Linked to Antidepressants
MEN'S HEALTH
Drinking Green Tea May Slow Prostate Cancer
Physical Activity May Prolong Survival After Colon Cancer
Exercise May Prevent Prostate Cancer: Study Shows
MENTAL HEALTH
The 3LS Wellness Program for Reversing Chronic Symptoms and Creating Lasting Health
Shop 'Til You Drop: You May Feel Better
Teen Internet Addicts More Likely to Self-Harm: Study
PAIN
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Acupuncture May Relieve Acid Indigestation In Pregnancy
Before Conceiving, Take Folic Acid for One Full Year
Mom's Extra Pregnancy Pounds May Raise Child's Heart Risks
SENIORS
For a Healthier Retirement, Work a Little
Mediterranean Diet Plus Exercise Lowers Alzheimer's Risk
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Smoking Ups Risk of Second Breast Cancer
Lifting Weights Can Ease Arm Swelling in Breast Cancer Survivors
Mom and Baby Alike May Benefit From Exercise
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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