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Special Communication |

Primary Prevention of Hypertension:  Clinical and Public Health Advisory From the National High Blood Pressure Education Program

Paul K. Whelton, MD, MSc; Jiang He, MD, PhD; Lawrence J. Appel, MD, MPH; Jeffrey A. Cutler, MD, MPH; Stephen Havas, MD, MPH, MS; Theodore A. Kotchen, MD; Edward J. Roccella, PhD, MPH; Ron Stout, MD, MPH; Carlos Vallbona, MD; Mary C. Winston, EdD, RD; Joanne Karimbakas, MS, RD; for the National High Blood Pressure Education Program Coordinating Committee
JAMA. 2002;288(15):1882-1888. doi:10.1001/jama.288.15.1882.
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The National High Blood Pressure Education Program Coordinating Committee published its first statement on the primary prevention of hypertension in 1993. This article updates the 1993 report, using new and further evidence from the scientific literature. Current recommendations for primary prevention of hypertension involve a population-based approach and an intensive targeted strategy focused on individuals at high risk for hypertension. These 2 strategies are complementary and emphasize 6 approaches with proven efficacy for prevention of hypertension: engage in moderate physical activity; maintain normal body weight; limit alcohol consumption; reduce sodium intake; maintain adequate intake of potassium; and consume a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products and reduced in saturated and total fat. Applying these approaches to the general population as a component of public health and clinical practice can help prevent blood pressure from increasing and can help decrease elevated blood pressure levels for those with high normal blood pressure or hypertension.

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Figure. Systolic Blood Pressure Distributions
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BP indicates blood pressure; CHD, coronary heart disease. Adapted from Arch Intern Med,7 with additional data from Stamler.16

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