Section Title

The Big Squeeze


High Blood Pressure is the Silent Killer.

Under new guidelines released by the American Heart Association in November 2017, more than 103 million people are classified as having high blood pressure. That is nearly HALF of all adults. The guidelines recommend that health care providers talk to patients about a treatment plan when blood pressure is at 130/80 rather than the previous high blood pressure measure of 140/90.

High blood pressure usually has no symptoms, and it increases your risk of heart attack and stroke. Another name for high blood pressure (HBP) is hypertension, and it means the pressure in your arteries is elevated. It is a “Silent Killer,” but it can be controlled.

What is The Big Squeeze?
The mission of The Big Squeeze is to increase awareness of hypertension (high blood pressure) and the need for screenings throughout the Sioux Falls community. The Big Squeeze project also seeks to work with healthcare providers to ensure patients receive education and tools to manage blood pressure when it is above the normal range. By participating in a screening during the month of April each year, area residents have the opportunity to learn if their blood pressure is in a normal range and, if it is not, to take action and see their health care provider. 

Who is part of The Big Squeeze?
We are proud to partner with several community organizations in this important project, including: American Heart Association, Augustana University, Avera Health, DAKOTACARE, Lewis Drug, National American University, National Kidney Foundation, Sanford Health, SD Department of Health, South Dakota State University, University of Sioux Falls, University of South Dakota and Walgreens.


Big Squeeze Summary

This chart shows results from The Big Squeeze since 2011.  The green column shows the percentage of residents who had normal blood pressure readings.

Prior to the implementation of new blood pressure guidelines in 2017, the yellow column indicated those who were in the "at risk" category, and the red column shows those who were in the "high" category.

With the introduction of the new guidelines, yellow indicates "elevated" blood pressure, and there are now two stages of "high" blood pressure.

Ongoing Pilot Project: Relationship Between BMI, Waist Circumference and Blood Pressure
Where we carry weight can impact our health. Research shows that extra inches around the midsection can increase risk for high blood pressure and other cardiovascular disease, as well as diabetes risk. Body fat distribution is an important predictor of health risks. Android obesity, which is excess abdominal fat, provides an increased risk of hypertension (high blood pressure), type 2 diabetes, dyslipidemia (high cholesterol), coronary artery disease, and premature death compared with individuals who demonstrate Gynoid obesity, which is excess fat through the hips and thighs.

Some Big Squeeze screening sites may offer waist circumference screenings. Results from previous screenings seem to support the fact that above normal waist circumference measurements may put you at risk for high blood pressure. If you are interested in checking your own waist circumference measurement, download and print these instructions.  Your target measurement should be: less than 35 inches for women and less than 40 inches for men.



► Host a Big Squeeze Screening. We have a great toolkit for you to download and use. You can also create customized communication pieces to use at your site. 

► Volunteer to be a screener. If you are trained in taking blood pressures and would like to volunteer, contact us!

► You can also watch this important Train-the-Trainer video to learn more about The Big Squeeze and the importance of taking a proper blood pressure reading.

► Download our Big Squeeze  Lifestyle Infographic PDF.




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Big Squeeze Lifestyle Infographic - English and Spanish
(click to download)