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J Clin Hypertens (Greenwich). 2010;12:784-792. © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Lifestyle changes, such as changes in diet and exercise, are recommended to lower blood pressure (BP) in adults. Using data from the 2008 HealthStyles survey, the authors estimated the prevalence of self-reported hypertension, advice received from health professionals, and actions taken to reduce BP. Among 5399 respondents, 25.8% had hypertension and 79.8% of these were currently taking antihypertensive medications. Overall, 21.0% to 24.4% reported receiving advice to adopt specific behavior changes, with younger adults and women having a lower prevalence of receiving advice. Blacks had the highest prevalence among the racial/ethnic groups of receiving advice, and household income was associated with receiving advice. More than half of respondents took action following the receipt of advice. Women were more likely than men to follow advice to go on a diet. Although many patients were following advice from their health professional and making lifestyle changes to decrease BP, the proportion of patients making changes remains suboptimal. Receiving advice from health professionals and following recommendations to reduce or control high BP are essential to hypertension management. Counseling on lifestyle modification should continue to be an integral component of visits to health professionals.