Lead by Dr. Frans Leenen of the Heart Institute's Hypertension Unit, the study adds new information to Canada's limited data on obesity and high blood pressure. The study strengthened the link of hypertension and above normal Body mass Index.
"Obesity is rapidly increasing in Canada because we are eating far more than our bodies require. We know better than ever that even being overweight creates other problems such as diabetes and high cholesterol levels and thereby endangers cardiovascular health," said Dr. Leenen in a press release. "Public health strategies to reduce the growing epidemic of obesity would also reduce the burden of high blood pressure and other negative effects leading to heart disease."
Published last week in the American Journal of Hypertension the results represent the latest analysis from the Ontario Survey on the Prevalence and Control of Hypertension, the first comprehensive assessment of high blood pressure since 1992 in Canada.
Examining 2,552 Ontarians between 20 to 79 in 16 communities the study found that over half of Ontarians over the age of 60 had high blood pressure and most were being treated for it. High blood pressure is more common in certain ethnic groups such as South Asians and Blacks.
"Being obese is followed by several serious heath problems. If we reduce weight, then we can help reduce high blood pressure - these facts are becoming more apparent as a way to live healthier," says Dr. George Fodor, head of UOHI Prevention and Rehabilitation Research, and an investigator who helped lead the research.