Blood pressure reduction to reduce risk of cardiovascular disease is a key public health initiative, and reducing sodium intake is currently one of the lifestyle strategies promoted to achieve blood pressure lowering in the American population. Sodium reduction is to be achieved in large part by changes in the food supply, but accomplishing this will take time. Even with sodium reduction, consumer awareness and desire to reduce sodium and make other lifestyle changes will ultimately determine whether the goal of blood pressure reduction through diet and lifestyle can be achieved. The International Food Information Council surveyed consumers about their awareness and concern about sodium as well as other lifestyle behaviors that impact blood pressure. The International Food Information Council also convened an experts roundtable, “Managing Blood Pressure through Diet and Lifestyle,” to explore priorities for addressing the lifestyle management of high blood pressure. A summary of the roundtable experts’ discussion and the responses of consumers with high blood pressure to the questions are reported in this article. Results from both the Consumer Research and roundtable experts indicate that a holistic approach beyond sodium reduction is needed to manage high blood pressure to reduce risk of cardiovascular disease. This approach may include messaging to consumers and medical professionals about weight management, more fruit and vegetable intake, and more physical activity.
There’s more to keeping blood pressure under control than weight and sodium, and it’s laid out here
Kathryn M. Kolasa, PhD, RD, LDN, is professor emeritus, Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, where she teaches medical students, primary care residents, and practicing physicians. She maintains an active outpatient nutrition practice. She participated in the roundtable discussed.
Kris Sollid, BS, RD, is the manager for nutrients at the International Food Information Council (IFIC) and IFIC Foundation in Washington, DC (http://http://www.foodinsight.org). He is a registered dietitian dedicated to communicating science-based nutrition information to consumers, health professionals, and other messagemultipliers that correspond directly with consumers. Kris presented some of the IFIC’s Consumer Research results at the 2011 Food and Nutrition Conference and Exhibition of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, formerly the American Dietetic Association.
Marianne Smith Edge, MS, RD, LD, FADA, is the senior vice president of nutrition and food safety at the IFIC and IFIC Foundation in Washington, DC. She is a registered dietitian, experienced communicator, strategic planner, and facilitator withmore than 25 years of experience providing consulting services to the healthcare and food industries.Marianne is the 2003–2004 past president of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, formerly the American Dietetic Association.
Ann Bouchoux, BA, MSW, is the senior director of nutrients at IFIC and editor of Food Insight newsletter for the IFIC Foundation (http://http://www.foodinsight.org), a nonprofit organization dedicated to the mission of effectively communicating science-based information on health, nutrition and food safety for the public good.
Funding for the surveys and roundtable described was provided by IFIC. *Dr Kolasa was a participant in the roundtable and received a modest honorarium for preparing the manuscript from IFIC.
The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.
Correspondence: Kathryn M. Kolasa, PhD, RD, LDN, Mailstop 654, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC 27834 (email@example.com).