J Clin Hypertens (Greenwich). 2012;14:767–772. ©2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
The authors investigated the efficacy of a lifestyle educational program, organized in small group meetings, in improving the outcome of a nonpharmacologic intervention. One hundred and eighty-eight hypertensive patients with stable blood pressure (BP) levels and drug therapy in the previous 6 months were randomly divided into educational care (EC) and usual care (UC) groups. They were followed at 3-month intervals up to 2 years. In addition to the visits in an outpatient clinic, patients in the EC program participated in small group meetings in order to improve their knowledge of the disease and reinforce their motivation for treatment. At baseline, EC and UC groups were similar for age, sex, body mass index (BMI), blood pressure (BP) levels, and pharmacologic treatment. Patients in the EC group had significantly reduced total energy, total and saturated fats, and sodium intake. Physical activity was significantly increased in the EC group as well. At the end of the 1-year follow-up, BMI (P<.001), visceral fat (P<.001), and BP (P<.001) were significantly lower in the EC group compared with the UC group. Pharmacologic treatment during the study was similar for all classes of drugs apart from diuretics whose dose was higher in the UC group at the end of the study.