U.S. Attempts to Reduce Salt Intake

U.S. Attempts to Reduce Salt Intake

Reported March 08, 2010

(Ivanhoe Newswire) — With 73 million Americans suffering from high blood pressure, the U.S. food service industry is attempting to make a change in public health by reducing the amount of salt added tp processed foods.

Reducing salt intake could have widespread implications for the U.S population by preventing strokes and heart attacks in nearly 1 million Americans, experts say, and saving $32.1 billion in medical costs.

Researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine and the Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System created a computerized model to show the effects of reduced salt intake on a large population, aged 40 to 85. Results showed a salt intake reduction would allow 513,885 Americans to be spared from potentially fatal strokes and 480,358 Americans to be spared from heart attacks.



To create hypothetical health and cost benefits, researchers used two different models to attempt a large-scale reduction of salt intake. A voluntary industry program was shown to be most potentially successful, cutting salt intake by 9.5 percent. A sodium tax would have less of an impact, with a 6 percent decrease in salt intake.

This study was inspired by the United Kingdom’s efforts that began in 2003 to decrease salt content. So far, these efforts have resulted in a 20 to 30 percent decline in salt found in store-bought processed foods. New York City already began a wide-range health initiative in January intended to decrease restaurant salt use by 25 percent over the next five years.

SOURCE: Annals of Internal Medicine, March 4, 2010