HATTIESBURG, Miss., Feb. 11 -- Fewer than 20% of hypertension patients adhere to recommended DASH dietary guidelines, according to data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.
The proportion of patients complying with the diet decreased by more than seven percentage points between the two most recent NHANES surveys, Philip B. Mellen, M.D., of the Hattiesburg Clinic, and colleagues reported today in the Archives of Internal Medicine.
The findings indicate that the tide of national trends has swamped evidence from the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) trial, whose dietary framework was adopted by the National High Blood Pressure Education Panel.
"The diet of Americans with [hypertension] has not been greatly influenced by the results and recommendations emerging from the DASH trial and instead reflects secular trends in the dietary patterns of the overall population," the authors concluded.
The DASH trial tested the hypothesis that a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products would act synergistically to lower blood pressure. The results showed that patients randomized to the diet had an 11-mm Hg decline in systolic blood pressure compared with patients on the control diet.
The dietary approach of DASH subsequently was incorporated into recommendations from the Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure (JNC). However, the influence of the DASH findings and JNC recommendations on dietary practices had not been examined.