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Systematic Review on Medical Nutrition Therapy for Adult Pre-hypertension and Hypertension

Published March 4, 2024

High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease. This systematic review looked at whether receiving dietary and nutrition guidance, known as medical nutrition therapy (MNT), from a registered dietitian nutritionist could help people with high blood pressure (hypertension). More specifically, researchers wanted to find out if MNT from a RDN could lower blood pressure, decrease cardiovascular risks and improve other health measures compared to standard care or no intervention.

They analyzed 31 studies that involved 31,000 adults with high blood pressure. The results showed that receiving MNT from a dietitian was linked to reductions in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure, arterial stiffness, body weight and waist circumference. On average, systolic blood pressure was reduced by 3.5 points, and diastolic was reduced by 2 points. Additionally, it improved the use of blood pressure lowering medications, lowered the risk of stroke and reduced the cardiovascular disease risk score.

The researchers concluded that RDNs play a crucial role in improving the heart health of people with elevated blood pressure and suggested that better payment and access to nutrition therapy services could have a significant positive impact on public health by helping people manage their blood pressure and related health risks more effectively. Learn more on the Academy’s Evidence Analysis Library’s Hypertension project.

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