How much excess weight loss can reduce the risk of hypertension?

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A 25% relative reduction in the prevalence of hypertension is a global target. This meta-analysis estimated the effect of excess weight loss on hypertension.


We searched PubMed, Web of Science and Scopus until January 2016. We included prospective cohort studies addressing the association between overweight/obesity and hypertension. We expressed the strength of association using risk ratio and the excess risk using attributable risk fraction with 95% CI based on the random-effects model.


We found 7617 references and included 10 studies with 173 828 participants. Compared with normal weight, the risk ratio of hypertension was 1.52 (1.37, 1.67; 9 studies, I2 = 82.4%) for overweight and 2.17 (1.84, 2.50; 9 studies, I2 = 88.9%) for obesity. The excess risk of hypertension attributable to overweight was 32% (24%, 40%; 8 studies, I2 = 85.5%) and that attributable to obesity was 47% (40%, 54%; 8 studies, I2 = 88.2%). That means, excess weight loss may reduce the risk of hypertension by between 24% and 40% in people who are overweight and by between 40% and 54% in people who are obese.


Excess weight loss is a vital strategy for controlling hypertension and is sufficient for achieving the global target, particularly if it is accompanied with other preventive measures.

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