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The connection between weight loss and a beneficial drop in blood pressure has been quantified by a recent German population-based study,1 presented recently at EuroPRevent 2011 in Geneva.

In the population-based Study of Health in Pomerania (SHIP), Marcello Markus and colleagues from Ernst Moritz Arndt University of Greifswald, Germany, recorded blood pressure and weight data from 3,300 subjects on two separate occasions spaced five years apart.

Results showed that a relative change of 1% in weight was associated with a relative change of 0.24% in systolic blood pressure, 0.26% in diastolic blood pressure, 0.25% in mean arterial pressure and 0.20% in pulse pressure. Furthermore the study showed that an absolute change of 1 kg in weight was associated with an absolute change of 0.39 mmHg in systolic, 0.26 mmHg in diastolic, 0.30 mmHg in mean arterial blood pressure and 0.13 mmHg in pulse pressure.

After five years of follow-up, the authors conclude, individuals who lost at least 5% of their initial weight had the greatest chance to control blood pressure levels without medication and to have fewer cardiovascular events.  “The data suggest that for individuals who already have established hypertension, the loss in total body weight increases the probability for a normalisation of blood pressure levels,” said Markus

Ongoing studies of subgroups with different initial weight values, add the authors, are necessary to explore whether weight loss has a universal benefit on blood pressure.  “During the natural ageing process, the majority of individuals increase their waist circumference, even when they lose some weight, and this association between weight, waist circumferences and blood pressure is not quite clear,” explained Markus.


1 Markus MRP, Baumeister SE, Ittermann T, et al.  Effects of variation in weight on long-term changes in blood pressure. The SHIP cohort study.  The European Journal of Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation 2011;18:Supplement 1, S64.

Published on: June 8, 2011

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