CDC Reports That Americans Are Overdoing It On Salt
October 21, 2011

CDC Reports That Americans Are Overdoing It On Salt

A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that most Americans consume far more sodium than federal guidelines call for, increasing their risk of high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke.

But health experts aren´t putting the blame on people who add salt to their foods, as most salt intake comes from foods that are already high in sodium. About 75 percent of the salt in our diets comes from commercially processed foods or from prepared food in restaurants. Only about 25 percent is found naturally or is added at the table. 

According to American dietary guidelines, people aged 2 years and older should limit daily sodium intake to less than 2,300 milligrams. And those 51 and older should limit daily intake to less than 1,500 mg.

The 1,500 mg daily limit also goes for African-Americans and anyone with high blood pressure already. These people account for nearly 48 percent of the American population. The CDC report shows that nearly 99 percent of this group exceeds 1,500 milligrams daily intake.

The CDC´s findings are based on analysis of nearly 19,000 participants in the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination between 2005 and 2008. The report shows that 88.2 percent of people who should reduce their daily salt intake to less than 2,300 mg, consume more than those amounts.

The report was published in today´s issue of the CDC´s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Sodium intake of 1,500 mg per day is adequate for most adults, excluding people like firemen and athletes whose activities cause them to sweat excessively, according to the Institute of Medicine.

Researchers say new efforts are needed to reduce the public´s sodium intake. In the United Kingdom, government and private programs have reduced individual daily salt intake from processed foods by 9.5 percent.

If a similar reduction was taken in the US, it could translate to an estimated $4 billion savings per year in healthcare costs, and $32 billion over the lifetime of adults aged 40 to 85, the researchers said. 


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