-- Robert Preidt
WEDNESDAY, Sept. 19 (HealthDay News) -- People who stick with
the so-called "DASH diet" achieve significant reductions in blood
pressure, but blacks are less likely than whites to adopt the diet,
researchers have found.
The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet -- which
is rich in healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables and low-fat
dairy items, and low in fats and cholesterol -- has been proven to
help lower blood pressure.
In this study, Duke University Medical Center researchers
examined whether adherence to the DASH diet was associated with
blood pressure changes and what factors predicted who would stay
with the diet.
The study included 144 sedentary, overweight or obese adults who
had hypertension (high blood pressure) and were not taking
blood-pressure lowering medications. They were randomly assigned to
one of three groups: DASH diet alone; DASH diet plus weight-loss
counseling and aerobic exercise; or no change in diet and exercise
After four months, participants in the DASH
diet/counseling/exercise group lost an average of 19 pounds. Weight
remained stable in the other two groups, the investigators
Participants in both DASH diet groups had significant reductions
in blood pressure levels, and those who adhered most closely to the
diet had the largest drops in blood pressure. This suggests that
following the DASH diet lowers blood pressure, independent of
exercise and weight loss.
But the study found that exercise and weight loss in addition to
the DASH diet promoted even greater reductions in blood pressure
and improved other measures of heart health.
The researchers also discovered that blacks were less likely
than whites to adopt the DASH diet. No other factor predicted
whether participants would stick with the diet, according to the
study published online Sept. 19 in the
Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
The findings suggest that altering traditional recipes rather
than eliminating certain foods altogether might improve black
patients' adherence to the DASH diet.
"We need to be aware of cultural differences in dietary preferences in order to help people better adopt a DASH-friendly diet," James Blumenthal, a professor of behavioral medicine, said in a Duke news release. "It is important to take into account traditional food choices and cooking practices when attempting to incorporate more DASH foods into daily meal plans."
The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has more
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