A.H.A. issues call for action on sodium reduction

by Eric Schroeder
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DALLAS — The American Heart Association earlier this month issued a call to action urging the public, health professionals, the food industry and the government to strengthen efforts in reducing amounts of sodium in diets.

“A compelling and still increasing body of evidence supports the imperative for population-wide sodium reduction as an integral component of public health efforts to prevent cardiovascular disease, stroke and kidney disease,” the A.H.A. noted in a paper that was published Jan. 13 in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association. “The potential public health benefits are enormous and extend to virtually all Americans. The A.H.A. is committed to improving cardiovascular health of the whole population, as recently articulated in its 2020 strategic goals.”

While acknowledging that some sodium intake is required, the A.H.A. said the goal should be no more than 1,500 mg of sodium each day, as recommended by the scientific advisory of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans Committee. Currently, sodium consumption is estimated to be two times higher than the recommendation.

“A national effort that reduces sodium intake by 1,200 mg/day should result in 60,000 to 120,000 fewer coronary heart disease events, 32,000 to 66,000 fewer strokes, 54,000 to 99,000 fewer myocardial infarctions, and 44,000 to 92,000 fewer deaths, and save 194,000 to 392,000 quality-adjusted life-years and $10 billion to $24 billion in health care costs annually,” the A.H.A. noted. “Even if average sodium intake is reduced by just 400 mg/day, the benefits would still be substantial and warrant implementation.”

The A.H.A. said the potential public health benefits of a sodium reduction effort are “enormous” and extend to virtually all Americans.

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