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Healthy Weight Key to Keeping BP in Check Over Lifetime

Written by Booth JN
Monday, 15 January 2018

Maintaining a healthy weight may be the most important factor in keeping blood pressure in check over the long haul [1]. The main finding in our study is that maintaining a healthy body weight into middle age may limit increases in blood pressure and help to preserve low blood pressure across the life-span.

The study was presented at the 2017 American Heart Association (AHA) Council on Hypertension, AHA Council on Kidney in Cardiovascular Disease, American Society of Hypertension Joint Scientific Sessions. For this analysis, authors assessed 4630 participants of the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study, who were 18 to 30 years old in 1985 and 1986, when the study began. During the 25-year follow-up, participants had their blood pressure measured and health behaviors assessed eight times, until around middle age.

The researchers analyzed the impact of maintaining five health behaviors on blood-pressure levels over the course of 25 years: healthy body weight, defined as a body mass index less than 25 kg/m2; never smoking; consuming no more than seven alcoholic drinks weekly for women and no more than 14 for men; getting 150 minutes or more of moderate to vigorous physical activity per week; and eating a healthy diet, based on adhering to the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) eating plan.

Participants who maintained a healthy body weight were more likely to have normal blood pressure as they grew older. Specifically, those who maintained optimal body weight were 41% less likely to have an increasing blood pressure as they aged. Maintaining physiical activity or a healthy diet were not associated with changes in blood pressure during follow-up. Never smoking and maintaining no or moderate alcohol consumption were associated with less of an increase in blood pressure by middle age, but a larger study is needed to verify the connection.

Participants in the study who maintained at least four health behaviors were 27% more likely to have normal blood pressure than an increasing blood pressure from early adulthood through middle age (odds ratio 0.73, 95% CI 0.39–1.38). Two-for-One Deal

References

Booth JN, et al. Maintenance of optimal health behaviors over 25 years and cumulative blood pressure burden: prospective data from the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults study. 2017 AHA Council on Hypertension, AHA Council on Kidney in CVD, American Society of Hypertension Joint Scientific Sessions. September 14, 2017; San Francisco, CA. Abstract 17-HBPR-A-476-AHA.

Last Updated Monday, 15 January 2018