Getting Rid of a Few Pounds is Good News for Blood Pressure

For millions of overweight Americans, new research declares one more reason to shed a few pounds in the new year. Even modest weight loss can lead to long-term blood pressure reduction.

But as anyone who has ever tried to lose weight knows, keeping the pounds off is difficult at the least. Participants in the study had a hard time maintaining their weight loss, which emphasizes the need for weight-loss programs that keep those discarded pounds from coming back.

In the study, there were nearly 1,200 overweight men and women between the ages of 30 and 54 who had upper-normal range blood pressure, meaning that they were at risk of developing hypertension, or high blood pressure (140/90 or greater).

The participants all had systolic blood pressure (the first number in a blood pressure reading) lower than 140 and diastolic blood pressure (the second number) ranging anywhere from 83 to 89.

Participants in the control group gained weight, and participants in the weight-loss group shed pounds.  At 6, 18 and 36 months after the study began, researchers found that blood pressure was significantly lower in the weight-loss group than in the control group.

In the group of people who lost the most weight (the top one-fifth), diastolic blood pressure and systolic blood pressure dropped an average of 7 and 5 points, respectively. In contrast, diastolic pressure dropped just 0.7 points and systolic pressure actually rose 2.5 points in those who lost the least amount of weight (the bottom one-fifth).

The researchers from the study also stated that people in the weight-loss group were less likely to develop high blood pressure than those in the control group.

The drop in high blood pressure disappeared when participants regained the weight they had lost, the report indicates.  For the people who lost weight only to regain it, their blood pressure readings crept back up to nearly the same level as they had been before they lost weight.

The results of the study leave no doubt that losing weight is worthwhile for people:

  • who have a higher than ideal body weight
  • who already have high blood pressure
  • for whom hypertension is a risk

An accompanying editorial points out that only 13% of people in the weight-loss group were successful in maintaining their weight loss for 3 years.

Annals of Internal Medicine 2001;134:1-11, 72-74

Dr. Pearsall’s Comment:

It’s not earth-shattering news that losing weight is good for your health.  However, having it documented in hard-core internal medicine literature is reassuring.

So, how do you lose the weight permanently?  Here are my top three recommendations:

  • Follow the dietary guidlelines outlined in the Enlita Natural Weight Loss Program.  
  • Exercise regularly. Most overweight hypertensive patients require about 30 minutes, 3 times a week (both cardio and resistence exercises can do wonders for high blood pressure.
  • Address your emotional issues using stress management techniques, like Emotional Freedom Technique.

About the Author:
Dr. Kendra Pearsall, N.M.D. is a Naturopathic Medical Doctor specializing in natural weight loss and food addiction. She created to help millions of people achieve optimal health, natural weight loss and life success with her free weekly e-newsletter (sign up at the top of this page.)