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Experts call for accelerated national sodium reduction initiatives
Date:4/20/2010

Boston, MA and Hyde Park, NY -- Responding to the health threat posed by Americans' over-consumption of sodium, experts in the department of nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) and The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) called today for sodium reduction strategies that are strong and effectiveand that maximize the enjoyment people derive from food.

"There is now overwhelming evidence that we must treat sodium reduction as a critical public health priority, much as we did when we discovered the harms of trans fats," said Walter Willett, MD, DrPH, chairman of the department of nutrition, HSPH, and a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. "The food industry tackled the trans fat reduction challenge with remarkable speed. We invite their best creative minds to bring similar leadership to the equally urgent cause of sodium reduction."

This call for action complements the Institute of Medicine's (IOM) release today of a much-anticipated report, Strategies to Reduce Sodium Intake in the United States. Sodium is a major culprit in our nation's epidemic of high blood pressurea disease that can start in childhood and will afflict nine out of 10 Americans over the course of their lifetimes. A 35 percent reduction in Americans' average daily sodium intake could save billions of dollars annually on health costsand save upwards of 90,000 livesby lowering people's blood pressure, and in turn, their risk of heart disease and stroke. But achieving this will take a comprehensive, population-wide effort, one that includes federal leadership to create a level playing field so that all food companies can move in concert toward gradual, steady reduction of sodium levels.

Policy changes need to go hand in hand with practical strategies. That's why scientists from the department of nutrition at HSPH and culinary experts from the CIA have drawn up "Tasting Success with Cutting the Salt: Twenty Five Science-
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Contact: Todd Datz
tdatz@hsph.harvard.edu
617-998-8819
Harvard School of Public Health
Source:Eurekalert

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