Barbershop Blood Pressure Program Continues to Benefit Black Men

At 12-month follow-up, black male barbershop patrons participating in a blood pressure intervention program at their barbershop continued to see their health improve, according to new trial analysis.

For the study, researchers enrolled 319 black men with baseline systolic blood pressure ≥140 mmHg. Fifty-two barbershops promoted either a pharmacist-led intervention or an active control approach. In the intervention group, specialty-trained pharmacists visited the barbershops and prescribed medication (in agreement with the patients’ doctors). In the active control group, patrons received guidance on lifestyle changes and recommendations to make doctor appointments from their barbers.

Baseline systolic blood pressure was similar in the two groups—152.4 mmHg and 154.6 mmHg in the intervention and control groups, respectively. After one year, the intervention group had a significantly greater reduction in systolic blood pressure, falling by 28.6 mmHg, than the active control group, which went down by 7.2 mmHg. A significantly greater percentage of the intervention group achieved blood pressure <130/80 mmHg than the control group (68% vs. 11%).

The most recent results were published in the journal Circulation. Six-month results had been published previously in The New England Journal of Medicine, at which time the findings were similar: mean systolic blood pressure fell by 27 mmHg and 9.3 mmHg in the intervention and control groups, respectively, and blood pressure <130/80 mmHg was achieved by 63.6% and 11.7% of the intervention and control groups, respectively.

In sum, the researchers wrote, “Among black male barbershop patrons with uncontrolled hypertension, health promotion by barbers resulted in large and sustained [blood pressure] reduction over 12 months when coupled with medication management by American Society of Hypertension-certified pharmacists. Broad-scale implementation research is both justified and warranted.”

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Source: Circulation