TUESDAY, March 22 (HealthDay News) -- Eating breakfast cereal -- especially whole grain cereal -- may reduce the risk of developing high blood pressure, a new study suggests.
"We found about a 20 percent decreased risk of developing hypertension in those who consumed whole grain breakfasts cereals at least seven times a week," said lead researcher Dr. Jinesh Kochar, of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston and the VA Boston Healthcare System.
"Along with other healthy lifestyles, such as low sodium intake and physical activity, getting whole grain from this readily available source can cut down the risk of developing chronic hypertension," he added.
Findings from the study, which received no private industry funding, were scheduled for presentation Tuesday at an American Heart Association conference in Atlanta.
For the study, Kochar's team collected data on 13,368 male doctors who took part in the Physicians Health Study I, a landmark trial begun in 1982.
None of the men had high blood pressure at the start of the study, but during more than 16 years of follow-up, 7,267 men developed hypertension, the researchers found.
High blood pressure, which puts people at risk for heart disease and stroke, is a leading cause of death in the United States.
The men were separated into four groups based on their cereal consumption.
When researchers adjusted only for age, they found that the men who ate cereal at least once a week reduced their risk of high blood pressure 8 percent compared with men who ate no cereal. Consuming cereal two to six times a week lowered the risk 16 percent, and eating it seven or more times a week dropped the risk 25 percent.
When Kochar's group adjusted their findings to take into account smoking history, weight, alcohol intake, fruit and vegetable consumption, physical activity and history of diabetes
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