Peer Reviewed


AHA Releases New Scientific Statement on Managing Hypertension, Obesity

The American Heart Association (AHA) has published a new scientific statement on the use of medication and surgery for the prevention and management of hypertension in patients with overweight or obesity.1 This scientific statement is intended for individuals in which primary weight-loss strategies, such as diet and exercise, are not effective alone.

Medications and metabolic surgeries are often not considered until the patient has experienced significant weight-related health issues, such as a myocardial infarction or stroke. This statement is intended to supplement prior AHA statements on obesity and blood pressure and emphasizes the prevention of hypertension in this patient population.

The statement recommends the use of glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists, a class of medication that was recently approved for weight management and weight loss in adults with obesity and overweight. The statement also includes a research review on the relationship between blood pressure and bariatric surgery.

“Weight loss achieved through dietary changes and increased physical activity are the cornerstones of treatment for high blood pressure that’s related to being overweight,” said Michael Hall, MD, MS, who is the chair of the American Heart Association’s statement writing group.2 “However, these lifestyle behaviors are often not sustained over the long term. Subsequently, reductions in blood pressure aren’t maintained over time. This new scientific statement suggests medical and surgical strategies may help with long-term weight and blood pressure improvement, in addition to a heart-healthy diet and physical activity.”


—Leigh Precopio



  1. Hall ME, Cohen JB, Ard JD, et al. Weight-loss strategies for prevention and treatment of hypertension: a scientific statement from the American Heart Association. Hypertension. Published online September 20, 2021.
  2. Meds, surgery may help obesity-related high blood pressure if diet, exercise fall short. News release. American Heart Association; September 20, 2021. Accessed September 22, 2021.