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Healthy Lifestyle Reduces Risk of Hypertension

The World Health Organization reports that hypertension (high blood pressure) is the leading cause of death in the world, resulting in over 7 million deaths annually. Therefore, preventing hypertension is important to improving health and preventing chronic disease and death, in developing as well as developed countries.

Professor Pekka Jousilahti from National Institute for Health and Welfare reports that practicing healthy behaviors can lead to the reduction of the risk of high blood pressure by as much as two-thirds, according to their research. The large population-based cohort study included more than 20,000 Finnish men and women who were 25 to 74 years of age with normal blood pressure during the baseline measurements done between 1982 and 2002.

The study examined whether five major lifestyle factors were related to cardiovascular disease and could predict the development of clinical hypertension. These healthy lifestyle factors were defined as daily consumption of vegetables, leisure time physical activity at least 3 times per week, normal weight (BMI<25kg/m2), not smoking, and alcohol consumption of less than 50g per week.

During a mean follow-up of 16 years, more than 1,500 men and women developed hypertension. The results of their analysis showed that people who had at least one to three healthy lifestyle factors reduced their risk for hypertension by as much as 50%, while having four of these reduced their risk by two-thirds. Smoking was omitted, since it was not associated with hypertension, in accordance with previous studies.

Professor Jousilahti adds that their analysis also suggests that observance of a healthy lifestyle may have more of an impact on the risk of hypertension in men than women because men who are obese and use alcohol have a higher risk of hypertension than women.


European Society of Cardiology. Healthy lifestyle reduces risk of hypertension by two thirds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 28, 2012.

Posted in: Cigarette Smoking, Healthy Eating, Hypertension, News Briefs

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