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Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews

Dieting to reduce body weight for controlling hypertension in adults

Overview of attention for article published in Cochrane database of systematic reviews, October 2008
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Dieting to reduce body weight for controlling hypertension in adults
Published in
Cochrane database of systematic reviews, October 2008
DOI 10.1002/14651858.cd000484.pub2
Pubmed ID

Cynthia D Mulrow, Elaine Chiquette, L Angel, Richard Grimm, John Cornell, Carolyn D Summerbell, Betsy B Anagnostelis, M Brand


As early as the 1920's, researchers noted a relationship between caloric restriction, weight loss and a decreased incidence of hypertension (Terry 1922, Preble 1923, Bauman 1928, Master 1929). In 1988 a meta-analysis of aggregate data from 12 prospective studies, including 5 randomized controlled trials (RCTs), found that on average each 1 kilogram decrease in body weight in obese hypertensive patients was associated with a 2.4 mm Hg systolic and 1.5 mm Hg diastolic decrease in blood pressure (Staessen 1988). Blood pressure reductions were not dependent upon degree of baseline obesity.This review aims to: 1) update the work of Staessen (Staessen 1988) looking specifically at randomized controlled trials, and 2) assess whether any of the trials assess effects of weight-reducing diets on clinical outcomes such as quality of life, morbidity or mortality. Evaluate whether weight-loss diets are more effective than regular diets or other antihypertensive therapies in controlling blood pressure and preventing morbidity and mortality in hypertensive adults. MEDLINE and The Cochrane Library were searched through November 1997. Trials known to experts in the field were included through June 1998. For inclusion in the review, trials were required to meet each of the following criteria: 1) randomized controlled trials with one group assigned to a weight-loss diet and the other group assigned to either normal diet or antihypertensive therapy; 2) ambulatory adults with a mean blood pressure of at least 140 mm Hg systolic and/or 90 mm Hg diastolic; 3) active intervention consisting of a calorie-restricted diet intended to produce weight loss (excluded studies simultaneously implementing multiple lifestyle interventions where the effects of weight loss could not be disaggregated); and 4) outcome measures included weight loss and blood pressure. Studies were dual abstracted by two independent reviewers using a standardized form designed specifically for this review. The primary mode of analysis was qualitative; graphs of effect sizes for individual studies were also used. Eighteen trials were found. Only one small study of inadequate power reported morbidity and mortality outcomes. None addressed quality of life or general well being issues. In general, participants assigned to weight-reduction groups lost weight compared to control groups.Six trials involving 361 participants assessed a weight-reducing diet versus a normal diet. The data suggested weight loss in the range of 4% to 8% of body weight was associated with a decrease in blood pressure in the range of 3 mm Hg systolic and diastolic. Three trials involving 363 participants assessed a weight-reducing diet versus treatment with antihypertensive medications. These suggested that a stepped-care approach with antihypertensive medications produced greater decreases in blood pressure (in the range of 6/5 mm Hg systolic/diastolic) than did a weight-loss diet. Trials that allowed adjustment of participants' antihypertensive regimens suggested that patients required less intensive antihypertensive drug therapy if they followed a weight-reducing diet. Data was insufficient to determine the relative efficacy of weight-reduction versus changes in sodium or potassium intake or exercise. Weight-reducing diets in overweight hypertensive persons can affect modest weight loss in the range of 3-9% of body weight and are probably associated with modest blood pressure decreases of roughly 3 mm Hg systolic and diastolic. Weight-reducing diets may decrease dosage requirements of persons taking antihypertensive medications.

Mendeley readers

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 123 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Brazil 2 2%
United States 2 2%
France 1 <1%
Canada 1 <1%
United Kingdom 1 <1%
Japan 1 <1%
Peru 1 <1%
Unknown 114 93%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Bachelor 20 16%
Student > Ph. D. Student 15 12%
Student > Master 13 11%
Student > Doctoral Student 8 7%
Researcher 8 7%
Other 27 22%
Unknown 32 26%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Medicine and Dentistry 30 24%
Psychology 7 6%
Unspecified 6 5%
Nursing and Health Professions 5 4%
Agricultural and Biological Sciences 4 3%
Other 24 20%
Unknown 47 38%