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HHS HealthBeat (November 25, 2013)

Helping out reduces high blood pressure

From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I’m Ira Dreyfuss with HHS HealthBeat.

Helping people might lead to you helping your own health. Research at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh indicates that older adults who volunteer for at least 200 hours a year lower their risk of hypertension, or high blood pressure, by 40 percent. The study looked at data on more than 1,100 adults ages 51 and older.

Getting older can mean fewer social ties because of things like retirement or children moving away. But the study indicates good social connections can reduce risks for health problems.

Researcher Rodlescia Sneed:

“Volunteerism may give older individuals an opportunity to establish new social connections they might not have otherwise.”

The study in the journal Psychology and Aging was supported by the National Institutes of Health.

Learn more at healthfinder.gov.

HHS HealthBeat is a production of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I’m Ira Dreyfuss.

Last revised: November 25, 2013