Church-based programs may help bring blood pressure down

(Reuters Health) – Lifestyle interventions delivered in churches by community-based health care workers may help bring down blood pressure among African-Americans, a new study finds.

Hypertensive church members who attended weekly sessions devoted to lifestyle modification achieved an average drop of more than 16 points in systolic blood pressure levels, researchers reported in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.

The new study shows that “a program of lifestyle behavior modification that is usually delivered by the health care system can be delivered in the church setting,” said coauthor Dr. Gbenga Ogedegbe, a professor of population health and medicine at the NYU School of Medicine in New York City.

Populations reached by this intervention often have less access to medical care, Ogedegbe said.

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