High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease and the chief risk factor for stroke. About 65 million American adults, one in three, have high blood pressure. An additional 59 million adults have prehypertension, a level that is above normal, and increases risk of heart disease and stroke. Results of the study, called PREMIER, appear in the April 4, 2006 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine.
"This study underscores the value of lifestyle changes--namely improving diet and increasing physical activity--in reducing high blood pressure, an important public health problem," said NHLBI Director Elizabeth G. Nabel, M.D. "For the millions of Americans with prehypertension and hypertension, this shows that individuals can make healthy lifestyle changes to keep blood pressure under control without the use of medications."
A total of 810 men and women ages 25 and older with either prehypertension (120-139mmHg/80-89mmHg) or stage 1 hypertension (140-159mmHg/90-95mmHg) but who were not taking medications to control blood pressure were randomly assigned to three groups. Participants in two of the groups attended 18 counseling sessions during the first six months--14 group meetings and 4 individual sessions. During the last 12 months they attended 12 group meetings and 3 individual sessions. They were prescribed goals for weight loss, physical activity, and given sodium and alcohol intake limits. One of these gro
Contact: NHLBI Communications Office
NIH/National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute