Supporting cardiovascular risk reduction in overweight and obese hypertensive patients through DASH diet and lifestyle education by primary care nurse practitioners

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Purpose:To describe an intervention among overweight and obese hypertensive patients, encouraging Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet and lifestyle changes, designed and led by a primary care nurse practitioner (NP).Data sources:A pre- and postintervention quasi-experimental time-series design was implemented over 2 months. Intervention included three group classes and two individual counseling telephone calls. Forty-five hypertensive patients enrolled, with a mean age of 55 years and mean initial BMI of 32. Twenty-six (58%) completed the program. Standard instruments (Rapid Eating Assessment for Patients [REAP] and Partners in Health [PIH] questionnaires) were used to evaluate diet and lifestyle factors before and after the program.Conclusions:Participants had statistically significant improvements in diet and lifestyle scores on both REAP and PIH questionnaires, as well as statistically significant weight loss (average 3.6 pounds lost) over the 2-month intervention period.Implications for practice:This NP-led primary care intervention on diet and lifestyle showed early success in improving the health of overweight and obese hypertensive patients. Investment in NP-led diet and lifestyle counseling should be considered among high-risk patients in the primary care setting.

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