HEALTH BRIEFS

The Hamilton Spectator - - HEALTH -

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.

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