A model of intervention for prevention of early essential hypertension in the 1980s.
The onset of essential hypertension early in life is indicated by the high tracking of blood pressure during adolescence; intervention in adults with mild hypertension has been found successful. How, then, can high blood pressure levels in children be modified to prevent early hypertensive cardiovascular disease in adulthood? In an entire biracial town (population 9000) we surveyed 1604 (89%) of all children aged 8--18 years for blood pressure and reexamined those in the upper decile of mean blood pressure (for each race, sex, and height) on three additional occasions. On each examination nine blood pressures were taken by trained observers. All children consistently in the top decile were randomly allocated into either a treatment (n = 50) or comparison (n = 50) group. These two groups and an additional midrange blood pressure comparison group (n = 50) were followed regularly using school facilities including community and school programs. Treatment consisted of 1) dietary guidance; 2) modifications of school lunches and snacks with healthy substitutes; 3) parental involvement; 4) a low dose diuretic and beta-antagonist given by usual standards. All study groups were monitored for blood pressure in a blind manner. In 6 months of observation, blood pressure in the treatment group remained 5 and 3 mm Hg (systolic and diastolic) less than controls (p less than 0.001 and p less than 0.01). An orchestrated community-wide attack on early-stage hypertension is feasible and seems to offer exciting potential for prevention of early hypertensive disease.
- Copyright © 1983 by American Heart Association