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The associations of obesity and alcohol consumption with blood pressure and the prevalence of hypertension were studied in 5550 male and female subjects aged 25 to 64 years, surveyed in the National Heart Foundation of Australia 1980 Risk Factor Prevalence Study. Body mass index was significantly and independently associated with blood pressure levels in both sexes. A maximum of 30% of hypertension in the study population could be attributed to overweight. The association between body mass index and hypertension was greater in men under 45 years in whom a maximum of 60% of hypertension could be attributed to overweight. In both men and women receiving antihypertensive treatment, body mass index was positively associated with blood pressure. Overweight hypertensives were less likely to achieve normal blood pressure on treatment. Alcohol consumption was significantly and independently associated with blood pressure levels in males. A similar trend in females failed to reach statistical significance because of the lesser consumption of alcohol by females. A maximum of 11% of hypertension in males and 1% in females could be attributed to alcohol consumption. These estimates were reduced when age and body mass were taken into account. © Gower Medical Publishing Ltd.

Original publication




Journal article


Journal of Hypertension

Publication Date





85 - 91