High blood pressure is at the source of roughly one in six deaths among adults annually. About one in three adult Arizonans have blood pressure that’s too high, putting huge economic demands on Medicaid, Medicare (AHCCCS) and our private health insurers (plus, of course, the loss of life).  The Institute of Medicine put out a report last week that identifies  high-priority areas on which we (public health & Arizona’s medical system) should focus in order to accelerate progress in hypertension reduction and control.

The IOM report recommends that we focus on population-based strategies that can reach large numbers of people. The keys are really behavioral and lifestyle interventions like reducing sodium (salt) intake, eating more fruits and vegetables, and increasing physical activity www.eatwellbewell.org.  The report also calls for the country’s public health system to promote policies that make it easier for people to engage in regular physical activity, cut calories, and reduce their intake of foods containing high levels of sodium while increasing their exposure and access to produce and other foods containing potassium.  This new IOM report fits quite well with our new Champions for Change salt initiative www.azdhs.gov/salt. Touche´.