A person with hypertension may be able to reduce blood pressure measurements by making lifestyle changes. The following recommendations are those made by the Seventh Report of the Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation and Treatment of High Blood Pressure (JNC 7).


(1) body weight

(2) diet

(3) dietary sodium intake

(4) physical activity level

(5) alcohol consumption


Parameter Recommendation

body weight

maintain body mass index between 18.5 and 24.9 kg per square meter


should be rich in fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products; should be low in total and saturated fats

dietary sodium intake

reduce intake, with no more than 6 grams sodium chloride per day

physical activity level

engage in regular physical exercise, with at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise per day for 4 or more days per week

alcohol consumption

for male of normal or large build: no more than 2 alcoholic drinks per day; for male with small build: no more than 1 alcoholic drink per day if male; for female no more than 1 alcoholic drink per day



• The DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, Sacks et al, N Engl J Med. 2001; 344: 3-10) fulfills the dietary recommendations.

• A sodium chloride intake of 6 grams per day is equivalent to 2.4 grams of sodium.

• One alcoholic drink per day consists of 12 oz beer, 1.5 oz 80 proof liquor or 10 oz wine.

In addition, the JNC 7 recommends smoking discontinuation to reduce risk of cardiovascular disease.


To read more or access our algorithms and calculators, please log in or register.