Prevalence of, and Barriers to, Preventive Lifestyle Behaviors in Hypertension (from a National Survey of Canadians With Hypertension)

Published:December 12, 2011DOI:
      Patients with hypertension are advised to lower their blood pressure to <140/90 mm Hg through sustained lifestyle modification and/or pharmacotherapy. To describe the use of lifestyle changes for blood pressure control and to identify the barriers to these behaviors, the data from 6,142 Canadians with hypertension who responded to the 2009 Survey on Living With Chronic Diseases in Canada were analyzed. Most Canadians with diagnosed hypertension reported limiting salt consumption (89%), having changed the types of food they eat (89%), engaging in physical activity (80%), trying to control or lose weight if overweight (77%), quitting smoking if currently smoking (78%), and reducing alcohol intake if currently drinking more than the recommended levels (57%) at least some of the time to control their blood pressure. Men, those aged 20 to 44 years, and those with lower educational attainment and lower income were, in general, less likely to report engaging in lifestyle behaviors for blood pressure control. A low desire, interest, or awareness were commonly reported barriers to salt restriction, changes in diet, weight loss, smoking cessation, and alcohol reduction. In contrast, the most common barrier to engaging in physical activity to regulate blood pressure was the self-reported challenge of managing a coexisting physical condition or time constraints. In conclusion, programs and interventions to improve the adherence to lifestyle changes to treat hypertension may need to consider the identified barriers to lifestyle behaviors in their design.
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