Population-Wide Reduction in Salt Consumption Recommended
ScienceDaily (Jan. 14, 2011) — The American Heart Association January 13 issued a call to action for the public, health professionals, the food industry and the government to intensify efforts to reduce the amount of sodium (salt) Americans consume daily.
In an advisory, published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, the association sets out the science behind the American Heart Association’s recommendation for the general population, which is to consume no more than 1500 milligrams (mg) of sodium a day because of the harmful effects of sodium — elevated blood pressure and increased risk of stroke, heart attacks and kidney disease. Elevated blood pressure (hypertension) is a major public health problem — approximately 90 percent of all Americans will develop hypertension over their lifetime.
Sodium consumption is currently more than two times higher than the recommended upper limit of 1,500 mg daily, with 77 percent of that consumption coming from packaged, processed and restaurant foods. "Even a modest decline in intake — say 400 mg per day -would produce benefits that are substantial and warrant implementation," say the advisory authors. The 2005 United States Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommended a sodium intake limit of 2,300 mg per day, which many health experts say is too much for most Americans. Earlier this year, the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee recommended to the secretaries of the United States Departments of Agriculture (USDA) and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that the goal should be modified to 1,500 mg per day for the general population. The advisory committee consists of leading scientists who reviewed the most recent scientific studies and created a set of recommendations that are being reviewed by the secretaries.