Most US Adults Should Reduce Sodium Intake

Nearly 70 percent of adults at high risk of hypertension
By A. Agrawal, PhD
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, March 27 (HealthDay News) -- Nearly 70 percent of U.S. adults are in groups at high risk of hypertension and should reduce their sodium intake to less than a teaspoon of salt a day, officials from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report in the March 27 issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Noting that U.S. government agencies recommended in 2005 that certain high-risk groups should consume no more than 1,500 mg/day of sodium compared with 2,300 mg/day (approximately a teaspoon of salt) for all other adults, the CDC analyzed data from the 1999 to 2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey to estimate the proportion of the adult population that would fall within the high-risk groups.

In 2005 to 2006, the researchers found that 30.6 percent of U.S. adults aged 20 and older had hypertension, 34.4 percent did not have hypertension but were 40 years and older, and 4.2 percent did not have hypertension but were blacks 20 to 39 years old. The percentage of adults in these high-risk groups has been steadily increasing, from 64.4 percent in 1999 to 2000 to the 69.2 percent in 2005 to 2006 reported here, they note.

"The current daily percentage value for sodium in the nutrition facts panel of packaged foods is based on a previous federal guideline of 2,400 mg/day and is likely to mislead the majority of consumers, for whom the 1,500 mg/day limit is applicable," the authors write. "Consumers and health care providers should be aware of the lower sodium recommendation, and health care providers should inform their patients of the evidence linking greater sodium intake to higher blood pressure."

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