Tag Archives: unhealthy

Binge drinking linked to higher blood pressure in young adults

According to the study that was published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, having a drink every now and then is okay, and moderate drinking can offer some health benefits but heavy, “binge” drinking is a health hazard that can have serious consequences.

A study conducted by researchers at the University of Montreal Hospital Research Centre discovered that young adults in their twenties who frequently binge drink have higher blood pressure on average, which might increase the risk of developing hypertension.

Binge drinking — consuming five or more alcoholic beverages in less than two hours — is very common among young adults. Past studies in the U.S. and Canada have discovered that about four in ten young adults aged 18 to 24 binge drink frequently.

For the first time, research has discovered that binge drinking might have an effect on blood pressure, which can increase the risk of developing hypertension and chronic diseases related to hypertension. According to Jennifer O’Loughlin, senior author of the study, the study discovered that “the blood pressure of young adults aged 20 to 24 who binge drink was 2 to 4 millimeters of mercury higher than non-binge drinkers”.

Binge drinking leaves you vulnerable and embarrassed. Don't do it. www.digitalplanetdesign.com
Binge drinking leaves you vulnerable and embarrassed. Don’t do it. www.digitalplanetdesign.com

At age 20, data on alcohol consumption was gathered from 756 participants in the Nicotine Dependence in Teens study, which has followed 1294 young people from diverse social backgrounds in Montreal, Canada since 1999. At age 24, data was again gathered, and participants’ systolic blood pressure was also taken. Systolic blood pressure measures the pressure in the arteries when the heart beats (i.e., when the heart muscle contracts), and it should be below 140 millimeters of mercury.

According O’Loughlin, professor in the School of Public Health, University of Montreal, the study discovered that over one in four young adults who frequently binge drink show signs of pre-hypertension: which can progress to hypertension, and can lead to heart disease and premature death.

The study also discovered that 85 percent of young adults who drink heavily at age 20 maintain this behavior at age 24. The researchers now aim to look into whether this trend toward high blood pressure will continue when binge drinkers turn 30.

The study was published in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

A tax on sugar could prevent millions of cases of obesity

In 2008, over 1.4 billion adults were overweight and over half a billion were obese, nearly doubling since 1980. Around 2.8 million individuals each year die as a result of being overweight or obese.

Globally, 7 to 41 percent of certain cancers, 23 percent of ischemic heart disease and 44 percent of diabetes are attributable to obesity.

Image from feedstuffsfoodlink.com
“Junk” food, high in fat and sugar, is easily accessible, extensively promoted and very cheap. Image from feedstuffsfoodlink.com

A 20 percent sugar tax could decrease obesity rates in the UK by 5 percent (which equals 3.7 million individuals) by 2025 — as stated by a new report published by Cancer Research UK and the UK Health Forum.

The report forecasts the effect a 20 percent tax on sugar could have on obesity if current patterns continue steadily. This defined number of 3.7 million individuals is equal to the combined populations of six different cities in England.

The study also forecasts that the tax could save the National Health Service about £10 million (around $14 million) in social care and healthcare costs in the year 2025 alone.

Being overweight and obese is a notable root cause of illness that would otherwise be able to be prevented and death in the UK.

“Junk” food, high in fat and sugar, is easily accessible, extensively promoted and very cheap. The study demonstrates that the price of food influences what individuals buy, so introducing a sugar tax gives a reason to either purchase less or switch to a more healthy alternative.

Adults and young children consume double the maximum suggested quantity of added sugar. And 11 to 18 year olds eat and drink three times the recommended limit — sugary drinks being the main source of added sugar.

Recent surveys additionally demonstrate that a tax on sugar is supported by the majority of the public with 55 percent supporting the measure and only 36 percent opposed to it.

To decrease the effect obesity has on society, Cancer Research UK is calling for action by the Government to put a tax on sugary drinks, ban junk food adverts on TV before 9 pm, and introduce goals for decreasing the measure of sugar and fat in food as part of an all-inclusive plan.

Unhealthy tailgate foods

A Saturday in a football stadium parking lot is the ideal setting for some of the best — yet unhealthiest — comfort foods. Depending who you go with of course, you may or may not be eating finger foods, grilled entrees and sometimes just deserts.

For those of us who have a sweet tooth, it’s understood that eating desserts as a meal is acceptable. And though we may enjoy every last bite, can you say you’re being healthy?

Continue reading Unhealthy tailgate foods

From our perspective: Happy meals aren’t always so happy

Like all fast food restaurants, McDonald’s promises quality food at an affordable price. Sometimes, however, I wonder if that reasonable price should come with a disclaimer. The quality and standards of the end product should never be compromised because a company is trying to reduce costs; a factor which is being compromised more frequently in the fast food industry.

Recently, McDonald’s made a press release stating that their burgers would no longer contain “pink slime.” Pink slime is comprised mostly of ammonia and meat trimmings, according toJulie Kennel, director of Human Nutrition at Ohio State University. Ammonia is a chemical, most commonly found in household cleaners such as Windex, Mr. Clean and Pledge. If inhaled or ingested, ammonia can have potentially serious health risks including fatigue, respiratory failure, burns or corrosive bodily damage.
Why would McDonald’s have had an ammonia-based meat product in their burgers in the first place? How do we, as consumers, know what else might be lurking inside one of these burgers? McDonald’s is supposed to be a place we all know and love. Its whimsical past, including Ronald McDonald, Grimace, Mayor McCheese, Hamburglar and many others, bring back memories of colorful ball pits and happy meals. Most of us grew up loving McDonald’s and the entire “eating experience” that has been provided by the golden arches for years.
When you think of McDonald’s as a brand, you probably think of the long tradition of beloved food, iconic symbols and lovable mascots. Releasing such a bold statement, such as the removal of pink slime (seeing how most people had no idea that something so dreadful could be hiding inside of their burgers in the first place), could hurt their reputation as a hallmark company forever.
The American public should demand better quality food. In discussing what should be done to make sure no harmful chemicals or toxins are in our fast food products, I came to the conclusion that the FDA or another federally funded program should be more heavily involved in the regulation of fast food. After seeing the various articles on pink slime, would that actually entice you to go out of your way to eat at a fast food joint? McDonald’s will, and should, get heat from consumers for an extensive amount of time to come, so hopefully some good will come of this.
If the FDA mandates a higher standard for beef in fast food restaurants, then maybe we will decide that it’s safe to eat at our favorite childhood eatery again. High quality fast food matters to me. How about you?
Graphic by Ashley Kincaid.