(HealthDay News) – Greater adherence to the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet is associated with larger reductions in blood pressure (BP), independent of weight loss; however, African-Americans are less likely to adhere to the DASH diet, according to a study published online Sept 19 in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Dawn E. Epstein, from the Duke University Medical Center in Durham, NC, and colleagues analyzed data from 144 sedentary, overweight, or obese adults (body mass index, 25–39.9kg/m²) with high BP (systolic 130–159mmHg and/or diastolic 85–99mmHg) participating in a 16-week randomized clinical trial of diet and exercise (Exercise and Nutrition Interventions for Cardiovascular Health trial). Participants were randomized to receive the DASH diet, DASH plus weight management, or usual diet.

The researchers found that participants in the DASH plus weight management and DASH diet alone groups showed significant reductions in BP (16.1 systolic/9.9 diastolic and 11.2 systolic/7.5 diastolic, respectively), compared to usual diet participants (3.4 systolic/3.8 diastolic). Following treatment, significantly greater consumption of DASH foods was noted in both the DASH diet and DASH diet plus weight management groups, compared to usual diet. Greater adherence to the DASH diet was associated with significantly larger reductions in both systolic and diastolic BP. African-Americans were significantly less adherent to the DASH diet compared with whites (4.68 vs. 5.83).

“Greater adherence to the DASH diet was associated with larger BP reductions independent of weight loss,” the authors write. “African-Americans were less likely to be adherent to the DASH dietary eating plan compared with whites, suggesting that culturally sensitive dietary strategies might be needed to improve adherence to the DASH diet.”

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