Lifestyle changes, including a combination of increased fat and refined carbohydrate intake and reduced physical activity, have resulted in an epidemic of obesity, type 2 diabetes mellitus, and hypertension. The epidemic is evident worldwide and often is greatest in underserved and indigenous populations.
Adoption of healthy lifestyles is critical for both the prevention of high blood pressure (BP) and its management. According to the Seventh Report of the Joint National Committee on Prevention, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure (JNC 7), 1 lifestyle interventions lower BP, enhance efficacy of antihypertensive medication, and lower overall cardiovascular risk. The lifestyle changes that are widely agreed to lower BP and cardiovascular risk are (1) smoking cessation, (2) weight reduction, (3) moderation of alcohol intake, (4) physical exercise, (5) reduction of salt intake, (6) increase in fruit and vegetable intake, and (7) decrease in saturated and total fat intake.