Implementing DASH-Aligned Meals and Self-Measured Blood Pressure to Reduce Hypertension at Senior Centers: A RE-AIM Analysis

Nutrients. 2022 Nov 18;14(22):4890. doi: 10.3390/nu14224890.


Low-income, minority seniors face high rates of hypertension that increase cardiovascular risk. Senior centers offer services, including congregate meals, that can be a valuable platform to reach older adults in underserved communities. We implemented two evidence-based interventions not previously tested in this setting: DASH-aligned congregate meals and Self-Measured Blood Pressure (SMBP), to lower blood pressure (BP) at two senior centers serving low-income, racially diverse communities. The study enrolled congregate meal program participants, provided training and support for SMPB, and nutrition and BP education. DASH-aligned meals delivered 40% (lunch) or 70% (breakfast and lunch) of DASH requirements/day. Primary outcomes were change in BP, and BP control, at Month 1. Implementation data collected included client characteristics, menu fidelity, meal attendance, SMBP adherence, meal satisfaction, input from partner organizations and stakeholders, effort, and food costs. We used the RE-AIM framework to analyze implementation. Study Reach included 94 older, racially diverse participants reflecting neighborhood characteristics. Effectiveness: change in systolic BP at Month 1 trended towards significance (-4 mmHg, p = 0.07); change in SMBP reached significance at Month 6 (-6.9 mmHg, p = 0.004). We leveraged existing community-academic partnerships, leading to Adoption at both target sites. The COVID pandemic interrupted Implementation and Maintenance and may have attenuated BP effectiveness. DASH meals served were largely aligned with planned menus. Meal attendance remained consistent; meal satisfaction was high. Food costs increased by 10%. This RE-AIM analysis highlights the acceptability, feasibility, and fidelity of this DASH/SMBP health intervention to lower BP at senior centers. It encourages future research and offers important lessons for organizations delivering services to older adults and addressing cardiovascular risk among vulnerable populations.

Keywords: DASH diet; RE-AIM; aging; blood pressure; cardiovascular disease; hypertension; implementation; intervention; older adults; self-monitored blood pressure; senior centers.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Blood Pressure
  • COVID-19* / epidemiology
  • COVID-19* / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Hypertension* / epidemiology
  • Hypertension* / prevention & control
  • Lunch
  • Meals