ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Know Your Asthma Triggers
Asthmatics Who Quit Smoking May Reverse Lung Damage
Molecule in Skin May Link Eczema and Asthma
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Pain-Relieving Powers of Acupuncture Unclear
Garlic Yields Up Its Health Secret
Acupuncture Eases Side Effects of Head, Neck Cancer Treatments
ANIMAL CARE
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
BONES & JOINTS
Childhood Dairy Intake Boosts Bone Health Later On
Chronic Low Back Pain Is on the Rise
Vitamin C Protects Some Elderly Men From Bone Loss
CANCER
Gene Screen May Predict Colon Cancer's Return
More Cancer Tests Mean More False-Positive Results
Asthmatics Who Quit Smoking May Reverse Lung Damage
CAREGIVING
Robots May Come to Aging Boomers' Rescue
Undoing the 'Big Baby' Trend
Most Women Struggle With Rising Health Care Costs
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Walk 100 Steps a Minute for 'Moderate' Exercise
Secondhand Smoke Quickly Affects Blood Vessels
Night Shift Work Hard on the Heart
COSMETIC
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
Get Sugared!.... Its a sweet choice for hair removal
DENTAL, ORAL
Amino Acid May Be Key to Strong Teeth
Health Tip: At Risk for Gingivitis
Gum Care Helps Control Type 2 Diabetes and Its Complications
DIABETES
Boosting Vitamin D Can Do a Heart Good
Saliva Test Could Monitor Type 2 Diabetes
Exercise Protects Black Women From Type 2 Diabetes
DIET, NUTRITION
Compound in Berries May Lessen Sun Damage
Proven Strategies for Avoiding Colds and the Flu
10 Beginner Tips for Fast Weight Loss, the Low-Carb Way!
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Green Areas Lower Health Inequities Between Rich, Poor
Improved Fungicides May Be Easier on Environment
Pesticides on Produce Tied to ADHD in Children
EYE CARE, VISION
Eye Test Could Spot Diabetes Vision Trouble Early
Gene-Transfer Proves Safe for Vision Problem
Stem Cells Repair Damaged Corneas in Mice
FITNESS
Simple Exercise Precautions To Help Keep Baby Boomers Fit
Marathoners Go the Distance on Heart Health
You Can Get Great Exercise In The Garden
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
GENERAL HEALTH
Have a Goal in Life? You Might Live Longer
Vitamin D and Bone Health: Are You Getting Enough of This Important Vitamin?
Natural Oils Help Lower Body Fat For Some
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
Airport Full Body Scanners Pose No Health Threat: Experts
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
B-Vitamins Help Protect Against Stroke, Heart Disease
Obese People Seem to Do Better With Heart Disease
Potassium-Rich Foods May Cut Stroke, Heart Disease Risk
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Dry Weather Boosts Odds of Flu Outbreaks
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Decline of Underweight Children in U.S. Continue to Fall
Babies Cared For In Others Homes Might Become Heavy Toddlers
Protect Your Kids From Swine Flu While at Camp
MEN'S HEALTH
Lots of Sex May Prevent Erectile Dysfunction
Physical Activity May Prolong Survival After Colon Cancer
More Vitamin C May Mean Less Chance of Gout
MENTAL HEALTH
Living Alone Increases Odds of Developing Dementia
Environmental Chemicals May Affect Male Reproduction
Music Soothes Anxiety as Well as Massage Does
PAIN
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Sugary Colas Tied to Gestational Diabetes
Mom's Extra Pregnancy Pounds May Raise Child's Heart Risks
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
SENIORS
Exercise Helps Reduce Falls in Young and Old
Martial Arts Training May Save Seniors' Hips
Nighttime Urination Linked to Higher Death Rate Among Elderly
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Natural Relief for Painful Menstrual Cramps
Supplements Might Reduce Breast Cancer Risk
Postmenopausal Women With Breast Cancer Face Joint Issues
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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