REFERENCE: Hovell, M. F. (1982). The experimental evidence for weight-loss treatment of essential hypertension: A critical review. American Journal of Public Health, 72, 359-368.
The empirical evidence concerning the therapeutic effects of weight loss for hypertension treatment was reviewed. Interventions were critically reviewed for strength of measures and experimental design. Six of 21 intervention studies proved to be methodologically strong. However, only one study was considered a randomized clinical trial, testing the combined effects of weight reduction and pharmacological treatment of hypertension. Average blood pressure decrease obtained from the methodologically strongest studies was -21 mmHg and -13 mmHg, for systolic and diastolic measures, respectively. This magnitude change suggests that weight loss may be a clinically and statistically significant treatment. Confounding and bias variables, such as adherence to diet, medication, salt consumption, etc., were discussed and future areas of research were outlined. It was concluded that weight loss appears to be an effective and safe treatment of hypertension.