• hypertension;
  • older adults;
  • intervention;
  • lifestyle;
  • health disparities

OBJECTIVES: To test the feasibility, acceptability, and effect of a senior center–based behavioral counseling lifestyle intervention on systolic blood pressure (BP).

DESIGN: A pre-post design pilot trial of behavioral counseling for therapeutic lifestyle changes in minority elderly people with hypertension. Participants completed baseline visit, Visit 1 (approximately 6 weeks postbaseline), and a final study Visit 2 (approximately 14 weeks postbaseline) within 4 months.

SETTING: The study took place in six community-based senior centers in New York City with 65 seniors (mean age 72.29±6.92; 53.8% female; 84.6% African American).

PARTICIPANTS: Sixty-five minority elderly people.

INTERVENTION: Six weekly and two monthly “booster” group sessions on lifestyle changes to improve BP (e.g., diet, exercise, adherence to prescribed antihypertensive medications).

MEASUREMENTS: Primary outcome was systolic BP (SBP) measured using an automated BP monitor. Secondary outcomes were diastolic BP (DBP), physical activity, diet, and adherence to prescribed antihypertensive medications.

RESULTS: There was a significant reduction in average SBP of 13.0±21.1 mmHg for the intervention group (t(25)=3.14, P=.004) and a nonsignificant reduction in mean SBP of 10.6±30.0 mmHg for the waitlist control group (t(29)=1.95, P=.06). For the intervention group, adherence improved 26% (t(23)=2.31, P=.03), and vegetable intake improved 23% (t(25)=2.29, P=.03).

CONCLUSION: This senior center–based lifestyle intervention was associated with a significant reduction in SBP and adherence to prescribed antihypertensive medications and diet in the intervention group. Participant retention and group attendance rates suggest that implementing a group-counseling intervention in senior centers is feasible.