Ontario gives $1.5M to app that encourages healthy behaviour
Ontarians who want to improve their health and personal finance skills can get points from popular consumer rewards programs for their efforts, paid for in part by the provincial government. Ontario government officials have announced the province is spending $1.5 million on the Carrot Rewards smartphone app, which allows users to get reward points from programs including Aeroplan and PetroPoints for completing tasks such as walking a certain number of steps or taking quizzes on healthy living and personal finance. The app gives users advice on topics such as eating seasonal fruits and vegetables and following a budget. Eleanor McMahon, Ontario’s minister of sport, says the government’s investment in the app is about giving people an incentive to make good choices and showing that leading a healthier life can be fun. Toronto-based company Carrot Insights developed the app in 2015 with funding from the federal government and British Columbia. It became available to Ontarians in February and the company says it has about 200,000 active users in the province today.
Airport noise may raise blood pressure risk, new study suggests
Airport noise could raise the risk for high blood pressure, a new study suggests. Greek researchers studied 420 people living near Athens International Airport, where an average of 600 airplanes take off and land every day. Maps made during construction of the airport divided the surrounding area by noise level: less than 50 decibels, 50-60 decibels (60 decibels is about the noise level of a room air-conditioner), and more than 60 decibels, so researchers could track noise exposure precisely. About two-thirds of the residents lived in the areas that regularly experienced noise at the 50- to 60-decibel level, and almost half of them had high blood pressure when the study began. Over the next 10 years, there were 71 newly diagnosed cases of hypertension. The study, in Occupational and Environmental Medicine, found that for each 10-decibel increase in noise at night, the risk of developing hypertension more than doubled. Cardiac arrhythmia was also associated with nighttime exposure. There was no significant link to stroke or diabetes.