Objectives: To determine whether the encouragement of walking an extra 30 minutes a day decreases blood pressure in adult African Americans with newly diagnosed hypertension.
Design: Randomized controlled study.
Participants and setting: A total of 19 African American adults with newly diagnosed hypertension from an urban family medicine office were randomly assigned to intervention and control groups.
Intervention: The intervention group was advised to walk an extra 30 minutes per day. The control group was not given this advice. All subjects used pedometers to record the number of daily steps.
Main outcome measure: Change in systolic and diastolic blood pressure in the intervention and control groups after six months of trial, controlling for age and body mass index.
Results: At the end of six months, a mixed analysis of covariance did not reveal a significant group-by-time interaction for systolic blood pressure. However, positive effects of walking were evidenced; adjusted mean systolic blood pressure dropped by 9.0% for those in the intervention group and 2.33% for those in the control group. Similarly, adjusted mean diastolic pressure dropped by 7.42% for the intervention group and remained essentially unchanged for the control group (P = .08) CONCLUSIONS: The findings of this study indicate that walking an extra 30 minutes a day is associated with lower mean blood pressure among adult African Americans with newly diagnosed hypertension.