Weight Loss and Blood Pressure Control (Pro)
Overweight is an increasingly prevalent condition throughout the world. Current estimates, which are probably conservative, indicate that at least 500 000 000 people worldwide are overweight as defined by a body mass index (BMI) of between 25.0 and 29.9 and an additional 250 000 000 are obese with a BMI of 30.0 or higher.1 In the United States, recent data indicate that as much as 66% of the adult population is overweight or obese.2
Overweight and obesity are established risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD), stroke, noninsulin dependent diabetes (NIDDM), certain cancers, and numerous other disorders.3,4,5,6,7 It is also a risk factor for hypertension.8
Hypertension, defined as a systolic blood pressure in excess of 140 mm Hg or a diastolic blood pressure higher than 90 mm Hg, is also a globally increasing public health concern. Roughly 1 billion individuals worldwide are estimated to exhibit clinically significant elevated blood pressure with about 50 million of those residing in the United States.8 Hypertension, in turn, is associated with increased risk for CVD, stroke, renal disease, and all-cause mortality.9,10,11,12
The JNC VII report defines Stage 1 hypertension as blood pressure levels between 140 and 159 mm Hg systolic and 90 and 99 diastolic. Additionally, the report establishes a category of Prehypertension (Systolic blood pressure between 120 and 140 mm Hg or diastolic between 80 and 89 mm Hg). These 2 blood pressure classifications are deemed to be appropriate primary targets for lifestyle modification interventions, including weight loss. Higher levels of blood pressure, or stage 1 hypertension that is maintained over a long period, should be addressed primarily with medications or other physician directed treatments.
There is a positive relationship between overweight or obesity and blood pressure and risk for hypertension. As early as the 1920s, a significant …