Salt consumption should be reduced to 1,500mg a day


New data from the American Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provide additional scientific evidence that the majority of Americans over the age of 20 should limit the amount of sodium they consume daily to 1,500mg to prevent and reduce high blood pressure. The new data are published in the 26 March, 2009 issue of the CDC’s Mortality and Morbidity Weekly Report.

“In light of new data from the CDC, which show that 69% of adults are salt sensitive, the need to reduce sodium consumption has become an even higher priority for our country’s health,” said Dr Linda Van Horn, American Heart Association’s Nutrition Committee and Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.

“The American Heart Association recommends that most people strive to lower the amount of sodium consumed daily to less than 1,500mg, to prevent or manage high blood pressure, a major but modifiable risk factor for heart attack and stroke,” Van Horn said. “The new CDC data adds to a growing body of scientific evidence that supports this recommendation – there are now a substantial number of scientific studies that show a direct relationship between salt intake and a rise in blood pressure. An upper limit of no more than 1,500mg could significantly reduce the rate of high blood pressure in the United States.”

The USA food supply contains excessive amounts of sodium, which makes limiting sodium consumption to less than 1,500mg difficult. According to the CDC report, Americans over the age of two consumed a daily average of 3,436mg between 2005-2006, up from a daily average of 3,329mg from 2001-2002.

In recognition of this fact, the American Heart Association is currently working with federal agencies to identify strategies to reduce the amount of sodium in the food supply and is encouraging food manufacturers and restaurants to reduce the sodium added to food by 50% over the next 10 years.

In 2006, the American Heart Association acknowledged that a daily upper limit of no more than 1,500mg is a good therapeutic goal to strive for to prevent and treat high blood pressure, but also suggested an interim goal of no more than 2,300mg a day of sodium because the current food supply makes it difficult to achieve the lower number.