National Academies: Strategies to Reduce Sodium Intake in the United States

by Sabrina I. Pacifici on April 20, 2010

“Reducing the intake of sodium is an important public health goal for Americans…Americans consume unhealthy amounts of sodium in their food, far exceeding public health recommendations. Consuming too much sodium increases the risk for high blood pressure, a serious health condition that is avoidable and can lead to a variety of diseases. Analysts estimate that population-wide reductions in sodium could prevent more than 100,000 deaths annually. While numerous stakeholders have initiated voluntary efforts to reduce sodium consumption in the United States during the past 40 years, they have not succeeded. Without major change, hypertension and cardiovascular disease rates will continue to rise, and consumers will pay the price for inaction…Since the 1970s, an array of public health interventions and national dietary guidelines has sought to reduce sodium intake. However, the U.S. population still consumes more sodium than is recommended, placing individuals at risk for diseases related to elevated blood pressure. Strategies to Reduce Sodium Intake in the United States evaluates and makes recommendations about strategies that could be implemented to reduce dietary sodium intake to levels recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The book reviews past and ongoing efforts to reduce the sodium content of the food supply and to motivate consumers to change behavior. Based on past lessons learned, the book makes recommendations for future initiatives. It is an excellent resource for federal and state public health officials, the processed food and food service industries, health care professionals, consumer advocacy groups, and academic researchers.”

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