Breathing awareness meditation and LifeSkills Training programs influence upon ambulatory blood pressure and sodium excretion among African American adolescents

J Adolesc Health. 2011 Jan;48(1):59-64. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2010.05.019. Epub 2010 Sep 24.


Purpose: To evaluate the effect of breathing awareness meditation (BAM), Botvin LifeSkills Training (LST), and health education control (HEC) on ambulatory blood pressure and sodium excretion in African American adolescents.

Methods: Following 3 consecutive days of systolic blood pressure (SBP) screenings, 166 eligible participants (i.e., SBP >50th-95th percentile) were randomized by school to either BAM (n = 53), LST (n = 69), or HEC (n = 44). In-school intervention sessions were administered for 3 months by health education teachers. Before and after the intervention, overnight urine samples and 24-hour ambulatory SBP, diastolic blood pressure, and heart rate were obtained.

Results: Significant group differences were found for changes in overnight SBP and SBP, diastolic blood pressure, and heart rate over the 24-hour period and during school hours. The BAM treatment exhibited the greatest overall decreases on these measures (Bonferroni adjusted, ps < .05). For example, for school-time SBP, BAM showed a change of -3.7 mmHg compared with no change for LST and a change of -.1 mmHg for HEC. There was a nonsignificant trend for overnight urinary sodium excretion (p = .07), with the BAM group displaying a reduction of -.92 ± 1.1 mEq/hr compared with increases of .89 ± 1.2 mEq/hr for LST and .58 ± .9 mEq/hr for HEC group.

Conclusion: BAM appears to improve hemodynamic function and may affect sodium handling among African American adolescents who are at increased risk for development of cardiovascular disease.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • African Americans / statistics & numerical data*
  • Awareness / physiology
  • Blood Pressure Monitoring, Ambulatory / methods*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control
  • Female
  • Health Promotion / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / therapy*
  • Male
  • Meditation / methods*
  • Respiratory Mechanics / physiology*
  • Sodium / urine*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • United States


  • Sodium