Sodium Intake in U.S. Adults Not Seen to Fall Over Time

Average 24-hour urine sodium excretion was 3,526 mg in research dating back to 1957
By Eric Metcalf
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Oct. 29 (HealthDay News) -- Based on data dating back to the 1950s, sodium intake among adults in the United States appears to exceed recommended intakes, with no evident decrease over time, according to research published in the November issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Adam M. Bernstein, M.D., and Walter C. Willett, M.D., of the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, analyzed data from 38 studies from 1957 to 2003, with 26,271 participants, that reported 24-hour urine sodium excretion in U.S. adults.

The researchers found that the mean 24-hour urine sodium excretion per person was 3,526 mg. The study's year wasn't associated with a significant change in sodium excretion. When analyzed by subgroup, male, female, black, or white participants didn't show a significant trend over time.

"Guidance for sodium intake should target specific populations for whom a lower sodium intake is possibly beneficial. Such an approach would avoid broad proscriptive guidelines for the general population for whom the safety and efficacy are not yet defined. An appropriate next step is not to lower the sodium guideline further. Rather, the scientific community should commit to the continued evolution of the science underlying sodium's role in normal and abnormal human physiology," write the authors of an accompanying editorial.

An editorial co-author disclosed consulting with the food industry and the Salt Institute.

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