20 May 2005
BRUSSELS – Being a Belgian lawmaker can be risky to one’s health, a new study has found.
Nearly one in six parliamentarians who participated the voluntary one-week study was found to be overweight amid a high prevalence of hypertension, or abnormally high blood pressure levels.
Some 51 percent of participants were found to suffer from hypertension, considered one of the main causes of cardiovascular disease.
Lawmakers were found to be twice at risk of hypertension than the general population mainly due to stress, irregular hours, lack of exercise and unhealthy eating habits.
As many as two-thirds of respondents said they never exercise. It therefore was not surprising that some 56 percent were found to have a body mass index of 25 or above, meaning they are overweight although not quite obese.
“This confirms that the lifestyle has an overriding influence on tension factors, specifically cardiovascular risk,” said the secretary for the Belgian Committee of the Fight Against Hypertension.
Still, female parliamentarians were better off than their male counterparts. Some 13 percent of female participants were found to suffer from hypertension, compared to 67 percent of males.
It is estimated that one out of four Belgian adults – or a total of 2 million – suffers from hypertension.
However, about half of those afflicted with the condition do anything about it, with hypertension accounting for about 30,000 deaths annually.
[Copyright Expatica 2005]
Subject: Belgian news