ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
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ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
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ANIMAL CARE
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BONES & JOINTS
Alcohol Abuse Can Damage Bones
Yoga Can Ease Lower Back Pain
Osteoporosis May Raise Risk for Vertigo
CANCER
Breast Self-Exam Rates Go Up With Counseling
U.S. Reported 25,000 Cases of HPV-Related Cancers Annually
Where You Live May Affect Your Cancer Diagnosis
CAREGIVING
Preventing Shaken Baby Syndrome
ER Less Likely to Diagnose Stroke in Younger Folks
Caring for Aging Loved Ones Can Be a Catch-22
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Common Antioxidant Might Slow Parkinson's
Tai Chi and Qigong Offer Many Health Benefits: Review
An Apple a Day May Help Keep Heart Disease Away
COSMETIC
Health Tip: After Liposuction
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
DENTAL, ORAL
Holistic Dentistry-My View
Gum Care Helps Control Type 2 Diabetes and Its Complications
An Oral Approach to Heart Disease
DIABETES
Strict Blood Sugar Lowering Won't Ease Diabetes Heart Risk
Red-Grape Compound May Improve Diabetes
Findings Challenge Tight Glucose Control for Critically Ill Patients
DIET, NUTRITION
Healthy Eating While On Vacation
Uncover Why Turmeric Helps You Heal
Breakfast Eggs Keep Folks on Diet
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Population-Based Strategy Urged to Cut U.S. Obesity Rate
Environmental Chemicals May Affect Male Reproduction
Chemical in Plastics May Cause Fertility Problems
EYE CARE, VISION
Brain Adapts to Age-Related Eye Disease
Diabetic Eye Disease Rates Soaring
Action-Filled Video Games Boost Adult Vision
FITNESS
Exercise May Prevent Prostate Cancer: Study Shows
Exercise Key Player in Knee Replacement Recovery
When It Comes to Lifting, the Pros Have Your Back
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
GENERAL HEALTH
Simple Holistic Approach to Fight the Common Cold
Pesticides and How to Affordably Eat Organic or Reduce Pesticide Consumption
More Single Women Are Having Babies
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Airport Full Body Scanners Pose No Health Threat: Experts
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Fewer Heart Attacks After England Goes Smoke-Free
Obese People Seem to Do Better With Heart Disease
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Bacterial Infections May Succumb to Honey
The HPV Vaccine: Preventative Medicine or Human Sacrifice?
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INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
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Exercise in Adolescence May Cut Risk of Deadly Brain Tumor
MEN'S HEALTH
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MENTAL HEALTH
Fear Response May Stem From Protein in Brain
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PAIN
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Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Pre-Pregnancy Weight Linked to Babies' Heart Problems
Mom's Extra Pregnancy Pounds May Raise Child's Heart Risks
Sugary Colas Tied to Gestational Diabetes
SENIORS
Many Cancer Survivors Don't Adopt Healthy Lifestyle
Older People at Greater Risk of Swine Flu Death
Fitness Fades Fast After 45
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Sugary Colas Tied to Gestational Diabetes
Natural Oils Help Lower Body Fat For Some
Soy May Not Lead to Denser Breasts
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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