The researchers randomly assigned participants to 3 groups. In one group, participants were given repeated lifestyle change counseling over time with specific goals for how much weight to lose, how much to exercise, and how much salt and alcohol to include in their diet. In another group, participants received the same counseling and guidance as those in the first group, but were also given specific goals for increasing the amount of fruits and vegetables and low-fat dairy products and decreasing the amount of fat in their diet. A third comparison group only received general advice to lose weight, increase physical activity, and maintain a healthy diet. Eighteen months after starting the study, the researchers compared the average weight, diet, and blood pressure of participants in each of the groups.