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AHA calls for population-wide reduction in daily salt intake


To improve Americans' cardiovascular health and reduce health-care costs, health guidelines regarding salt consumption should be lowered to 1,500 mg per day, according to the American Heart Association (AHA).

Current guidelines advise consuming less than 2,400 mg, or about 1 teaspoon, daily.

The AHA recommendation is based on a review of previous research on the adverse effects of sodium intake including results from animal studies, epidemiological studies, clinical trials and meta-analyses of trials. In an article (.pdf) published yesterday in Circulation, researchers outline the estimated public health benefits that may result in further limiting salt consumption:

The projected benefits of sodium reduction are substantial. Several studies have estimated the societal benefits of population-wide sodium reduction. In the most recent and comprehensive set of projections, Bibbins-Domingo and colleagues quantified the effects of 400 mg/d to 1200 mg/d reductions in sodium intake on a variety of relevant outcomes. A national effort that reduces sodium intake by 1200 mg/d 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 to $24 billion in healthcare costs annually. Even if average sodium intake is reduced by just 400 mg/d, the benefits would still be substantial and warrant implementation.

A recent Stanford study showed an industry-wide effort to curb salt in foods could prevent strokes and heart attacks in nearly a million Americans and save $32.1 billion in medical costs.

Previously: National guidelines for salt intake questioned, Should governments regulate salt content in processed foods?, Hold the salt, and help the heart, Holding the salt could save lives, money, and A grain of salt concerning salt-intake reduction
Photo by Mykl Roventine

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