Old Salts

March 28/Santa Fe, N.M./US State News -- The New Mexico Department of Health issued the following news release:

Most Americans consume more than double the amount of their daily recommended level of sodium. A new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that more than 2 out of 3 adults are in population groups that should consume no more than 1,500mg per day of sodium. During 2005-2006, the estimated average intake of sodium for persons in the U.S. age 2 years and older was 3,436mg per day. A diet high in sodium increases the risk of having higher blood pressure, a major cause for heart disease and stroke. These diseases are the first and third leading causes of death in the country.

"It's important for people to eat less salt. People who adopt a heart-healthy eating pattern that includes a diet low in sodium and rich in potassium and calcium can improve their blood pressure," said Darwin R. Labarthe, M.D., Ph.D., director of the CDC's Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention. "Reducing sodium intake can prevent or delay increases in blood pressure for everyone.

"People need to know their recommended daily sodium limit and take action to reduce sodium intake," Labarthe said.

Most of the sodium consumers eat comes from packaged, processed and restaurant foods. CDC along with other HHS agencies, including the Food and Drug Administration, will be working with major food manufacturers and chain restaurants to reduce sodium levels in the food supply. The study in CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, a survey designed to assess the health and nutritional status of adults and children in the United States. This study is the first to use national data to show that 69.2% of the adult population belongs to a specific group that should aim to consume no more than 1,500mg of sodium per day. This group includes persons with high blood pressure, African-Americans, or middle-aged and older adults (more than 40 years old).

From the March 30, 2009, Prepared Foods E-dition