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Non-pharmacological treatment of hypertension in primary health care: A comparative clinical trial of two education strategies in health and nutrition

Amanda G Ribeiro134, Sônia MR Ribeiro134, Cristina MGC Dias134, Andréia Q Ribeiro134, Fátima AF Castro134, Maria M Suárez-Varela234 and Rosângela MM Cotta134*

Author Affiliations

1 Departamento de Nutrição e Saúde. Universidade Federal de Viçosa. Av. Peter Henry Rolfs, s.n. - Campus Universitário, 36570-000, Viçosa - MG - Brazil

2 Unit of Public Health and Environmental Care, Department of Preventive Medicine, University of Valencia. Valencia, Spain

3 CIBER - Epidemiology and Public Health (CB06/02/0045), Spain

4 Research Foundation. University Hospital Dr. Peset. Valencia, Spain

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BMC Public Health 2011, 11:637  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-11-637

Published: 10 August 2011



Poor adherence to non-pharmacological treatment of hypertension represents a serious challenge for public health policies in several countries. This study was conducted to compare two intervention strategies regarding the adherence of adult women to dietary changes recommended for the treatment of hypertension in a community covered by Primary Health Care Unit.


This study is a randomized controlled trial of a sample composed of 28 women with hypertension enrolled in the Primary Health Care Unit located in the urban area of southeastern Brazil. The participants were already undergoing treatment for hypertension but devoid of nutritional care; and were divided into two groups, each composed of 14 individuals, who received interventions that consisted of two different strategies of nutritional guidance: monthly health education workshops alone (Group 1) and combined with family orientation through home visits (Group 2). Adherence to nutritional guidelines was evaluated by dietary, anthropometric, clinical and serum biochemical parameters, measured before and after the interventions. Knowledge on control and risk of hypertension was also investigated. The study lasted five months.


Mean age was 55.6 (± 2.8) and 50.7 (± 6.5) in the groups 1 and 2, respectively. The home orientation strategy promoted greater adherence to dietary changes, leading to a statistically significant improvement in the clinical, anthropometric, biochemical and dietary parameters. The group 2 reduced the consumption of risk foods (p = 0.01), oil (p = 0.002) and sugar (p = 0.02), and decreased body mass index (-0.7 kg/m2; p = 0.01); waist circumference (-4.2 cm; p = 0.001), systolic blood pressure (-13 mm HG; p = 0.004) and glycemia (-18.9 mg/dl; p = 0. 01). In group 1 only waist circumference (-2 cm; p = 0.01) changed significantly.


Nutritional orientations at the household level were more effective with regard to the adherence of individuals to non-pharmacological treatment of hypertension, regarding the reduction of clinical and behavioral risk parameters.