Updated 07 July 2014

Little weight loss lowers blood pressure

Researchers have found that middle-aged and overweight people may be able to lower their blood pressure by losing as little as 7 kg in four years.

Middle-aged and overweight people can lower their high blood pressure, even if they manage to shed only seven kg in four years, according to a study published in Archives of Internal Medicine.

Overweight men and women (with a body mass index of 25 or more, an indicator of overweight) participated in the study. A total of 623 were aged 30 – 49 (the younger group), and 605 were age 50 – 65 (the older group). The researchers found that in individuals who lost 6,8kg, or more, over a four-year period, the long-term risk of high blood pressure was reduced by 28% in the younger group and by 37% in the older group.

Even more modest weight loss lowered the chances of high blood pressure, provided that the losses were sustained for an additional four years. Individuals in the younger group, who lost at least 2kg and kept it off for the next four years, had a 22% decline in the risk of high blood pressure, while a 26% decrease occurred in the older patients.

(From Johns Hopkins Health Alerts, October 2006)

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Dr Jacomien de Villiers qualified as a specialist physician at the University of Pretoria in 1995. She worked at various clinics at the Department of Internal Medicine, Steve Biko Hospital, these include General Internal Medicine, Hypertension, Diabetes and Cardiology. She has run a private practice since 2001, as well as a consultant post at the Endocrine Clinic of Steve Biko Hospital.

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