Cutting sodium consumption: A major public health priority

Sep 14, 2009

Reducing sodium intake is a major public health priority that must be acted upon by governments and nongovernmental organizations to improve population health, states an article in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

Higher blood pressure is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease and a diet high in sodium has been linked to high blood pressure, vascular and cardiac damage, stomach cancer, osteoporosis and other diseases. Almost 1 billion adults worldwide have , and 17-30% of these cases can be attributed to excessive sodium consumption.

In developed countries, almost 80% of sodium intake is from processed . Regulation of the food industry by government will bring about the most effective change, although immediate voluntary action is desired.

The recommended intake in Canada ranges from 1,000 mg/day sodium for people aged 1-3 years to 1,500 mg/day for those aged 9-50. Average daily sodium intake in Canada is more than double the highest recommended level.

"A population-wide reduction in could prevent a large proportion of cardiovascular events in both normotensive and hypertensive populations," write Dr. Kevin Willis, Canadian Stroke Network and coauthors. "For example, a population-wide decrease of 2 mm Hg diastolic blood pressure would be estimated to lower the prevalence of hypertension by 17%, by 6% and the risk of stroke by 15%, with many of the benefits occurring among patients with normal ."

National public health policy should be focused on reformulating processed food, educating consumers, labelling food clearly and setting timelines to meet these targets. Nongovernmental groups should lobby the food industry to change practice and partner with governments to mount public education campaigns.

As well, health care professionals should to counsel patients about healthy choices in reducing consumption. Training to do this should be incorporated into curricula.

More information: http://www.cmaj.ca/press/cmaj090361.pdf

Source: Canadian Medical Association Journal (news : web)

Explore further: Targeting parents along with overweight kids benefits both

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Consuming a little less salt could mean fewer deaths

Mar 11, 2009

For every gram of salt that Americans reduce in their diets daily, a quarter of a million fewer new heart disease cases and over 200,000 fewer deaths would occur over a decade, researchers said at the American Heart Association's ...

CDC: Most adults should restrict salt but don't

Mar 27, 2009

(AP) -- Seven out of 10 Americans should restrict their salt consumption, but very few of them do, according to a new government study. About 145 million U.S. adults are thought to be more sensitive to salt - a group that ...

Recommended for you

First lady tells America to 'Drink Up' more water

9 hours ago

Michelle Obama is expanding her push for America to drink more water, as the White House claims partial responsibility for helping to boost nearly $1 million in bottled water sales among consumers since the national "Drink ...

User comments : 0