(HealthDay News) — Only about one in two young American adults with hypertension receive advice from a doctor on lifestyle changes, according to a study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

“Only 38 % of young adults with hypertension have controlled blood pressure. Lifestyle education is a critical initial step for hypertension control. Previous studies have not assessed the type and frequency of lifestyle education in young adults with incident hypertension,” researchers wrote in the journal.

For the study, the investigators looked at lifestyle counseling rates among 500 young adults with hypertension being treated at a large Midwestern academic practice.

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Only 55% of the patients received lifestyle education within 1 year of being diagnosed with hypertension, the study data indicated. The most common topic was exercise, followed by advice on quitting smoking. Only 25% were counseled on how to lower their blood pressure by changing their diet.

Those most likely to receive lifestyle counseling included women, patients who made regular visits to the doctor to manage long-term health problems, those previously diagnosed with hyperlipidemia and people with a family history of hypertension or heart disease

The findings show that doctors are missing far too many “teachable moments” to advise young adults with hypertension about lifestyle changes, study author Heather Johnson, MD, of the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health in Madison, said in a journal news release.


  1. Johnson HM et al. J Gen Intern Med. 2014;doi:10.1007/s11606-014-3059-7.