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Even small dietary reductions in salt could mean fewer heart attacks, strokes and deaths
Date:1/21/2010

tary salt is one of those rare interventions that has a huge health benefit and actually saves large amounts of money. At a time when so much public debate has focused on the costs of health care for the sick, here is a simple remedy, already proven to be feasible in other countries," said Lee Goldman, MD, MPH, senior author, executive vice president for health and biomedical sciences and dean of the faculties of health sciences and medicine at Columbia University.

The American Heart Association reports that salt consumption among Americans has risen by 50 percent and blood pressure has risen by nearly the same amount since the 1970s - despite evidence linking salt intake to high blood pressure and heart disease.

"In addition to its independent benefits on blood pressure, reducing salt intake can enhance the effects of most anti-hypertensive (blood pressure lowering) agents and reduce complications associated with diabetes, obesity and kidney disease," said Glenn M. Chertow, MD, study co-author, professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Nephrology at Stanford University.

According to federal government data, the average American man consumes more than10 grams of salt (4000 mg sodium) daily. Most health organizations recommend far lower targets - no more than 5.8 grams of salt per day (2300 mg sodium) and less than 3.8 grams for those over 40. Each gram of salt contains 0.4 grams of sodium.

"It's clear that we need to lower salt intake, but individuals find it hard to make substantial cuts because most salt comes from processed foods, not from the salt shaker," Bibbins-Domingo said. "Our study suggests that the food industry and those who regulate it could contribute substantially to the health of the nation by achieving even small reductions in the amount of salt in these processed foods."

The New York City Department of Public Health and other state and local municipalities nationally have seen salt as an
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Contact: Alex Lyda
alyda@columbia.edu
212-305-0820
Columbia University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2 3

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