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Hypertension. 2003 Nov;42(5):878-84. Epub 2003 Sep 15.

Influence of weight reduction on blood pressure: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.

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  • 1Division of Human Nutrition, Wageningen University, Wageningen, The Netherlands.


Increased body weight is a strong risk factor for hypertension. A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials was performed to estimate the effect of weight reduction on blood pressure overall and in population subgroups. Twenty-five randomized, controlled trials (comprising 34 strata) published between 1966 and 2002 with a total of 4874 participants were included. A random-effects model was used to account for heterogeneity among trials. A net weight reduction of -5.1 kg (95% confidence interval [CI], -6.03 to -4.25) by means of energy restriction, increased physical activity, or both reduced systolic blood pressure by -4.44 mm Hg (95% CI, -5.93 to -2.95) and diastolic blood pressure by -3.57 mm Hg (95% CI, -4.88 to -2.25). Blood pressure reductions were -1.05 mm Hg (95% CI, -1.43 to -0.66) systolic and -0.92 mm Hg (95% CI, -1.28 to -0.55) diastolic when expressed per kilogram of weight loss. As expected, significantly larger blood pressure reductions were observed in populations with an average weight loss >5 kg than in populations with less weight loss, both for systolic (-6.63 mm Hg [95% CI, -8.43 to -4.82] vs -2.70 mm Hg [95% CI, -4.59 to -0.81]) and diastolic (-5.12 mm Hg [95% CI, -6.48 to -3.75] vs -2.01 mm Hg [95% CI, -3.47 to -0.54]) blood pressure. The effect on diastolic blood pressure was significantly larger in populations taking antihypertensive drugs than in untreated populations (-5.31 mm Hg [95% CI, -6.64 to -3.99] vs -2.91 mm Hg [95% CI, -3.66 to -2.16]). This meta-analysis clearly shows that weight loss is important for the prevention and treatment of hypertension.

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