AUGUSTA, Ga., Sept. 13 (UPI) -- High school students taught anger and stress management demonstrated less anger and lower blood pressure, U.S. researchers say.
Dr. Vernon A. Barnes, physiologist at the Institute of Public and Preventive Health at Georgia Health Sciences University, said the 10-week program could fit easily into the high school curriculum and give students a lifetime of less anger and lower blood pressure.
The study involved 86 ninth-graders in Augusta, Ga., taught anger and stress management by health and physical education teachers, who were compared to 73 of their peers who received no intervention.
The study, published in the journal Translational Behavioral Medicine, found among the 30 percent of participants with higher blood pressures, the diastolic measure -- the bottom number reflecting pressure inside blood vessels when the heart is relaxed and filling with blood -- decreased about 2 points.
Even a small downward shift in blood pressure in youth could substantially reduce hypertension risk and related cardiovascular disease risk over the long term and improve public health, Barnes said.
"We believe we have an effective method that any school could use to help curtail violence and keep adolescents out of trouble with an improved mental state that benefits their physical well-being," Barnes said in a statement. However, more study is needed to measure the program's impact in hypertensive schoolchildren, Barnes noted.