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PLoS One. 2013 Oct 30;8(10):e78412. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0078412. eCollection 2013.

Compliance with the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet: a systematic review.

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School of Public Health and Primary Care, Faculty of Medicine, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, China.



The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet has been recognized as effective to lower blood pressure in feeding trials, but compliance with the diet must be persistent to maximize health benefits in clinical practice. This paper reports a systematic review of the latest evidence on the method to assess DASH compliance and the corresponding patients' compliance in interventional settings.


The databases including MEDLINE, EBM Reviews, EMBASE, and CINAHL Plus were searched for original research studies published in the period of January 1992-December 2012 that evaluated compliance with DASH diet. Studies written in English language, with DASH intervention, with complete documentation of the degree of DASH compliance and the assessment method used were included in this review. The search terms included: dietary approaches to stop hypertension, DASH, compliance, adherence, consistency, and concordance.


Nine studies were included. Different types of interventions were identified, ranging from feeding trial to dietary counseling. These studies differed in the assessment methods used to evaluate DASH compliance, which included objective approaches like measurement of urinary excretion, and subjective approaches like dietary intake assessment for DASH target comparison and construction of DASH scoring systems. Compliance levels were lower in educational interventions than that of the original DASH feeding trial.


To conclude, although no consensus existed regarding the best approach to assess DASH compliance, its suboptimal compliance warrants attention. This study implied a need to investigate effective approaches to sustain the DASH dietary pattern beyond counselling alone.

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