Identifying differences in modifiable lifestyle factors between persons with prehypertension and normal blood pressure (BP) can help improve prevention efforts.
Data from the 1999–2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey were analyzed (in 2008) for persons aged at least 20 years (n = 11 194). Differences in five healthy lifestyle characteristics were examined by BP status (normal, prehypertension, and hypertension). Additionally, differences in lifestyle characteristics by sex, race/ethnicity, and education among those with prehypertension were analyzed.
Overall, 32.8% of adults had a normal BMI, 75.3% did not smoke, 31.3% were regularly physically active, 57.7% were moderate drinkers or nondrinkers, and 28.1% had a low sodium intake; only 2% had all five characteristics. Almost 40% had a normal BP and 30.3% were prehypertensive. Those with prehypertension were less likely to have a normal BMI than normotensive individuals [adjusted odds ratio (OR) = 0.63, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.56–0.70], to be regularly active (adjusted OR = 0.85, 95% CI = 0.74–0.98), and to moderately/not drink (adjusted OR = 0.88, 95% CI = 0.80–0.97). Those with prehypertension or hypertension were less likely to have at least three or four healthy lifestyle characteristics compared with those with normal BP. Among 3168 persons with prehypertension, some sex, race/ethnic, and education level differences in the prevalence of healthy lifestyles were observed.
Differences in healthy lifestyle factors were observed by BP status, but the prevalence of healthy lifestyle factors is suboptimal among the population as a whole.