60-Second Science

Too Much Salt Eaten by Almost Everyone

A CDC study of 4,000 adults found that more than 90 percent ate more sodium than recommended levels. Cynthia Graber reports.

Even if you have a light hand with the salt shaker, you probably get lots of sodium in processed or restaurant meals. But sodium can contribute to high blood pressure, and increases the risk for heart disease and failure, stroke, and kidney disease. So how many of us are limiting our sodium intake to recommended levels—which scientists say could reduce new cases of coronary heart disease by 60-to-120 thousand per year.

Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control analyzed data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 2005/2006, the most recent years available. Nearly 4,000 adults over 20-years-old completed a physical, had their blood pressure taken and answered a survey of what they’d eaten over the past 24. This food survey was taken again about a week later.

According to the data, less than 10 percent of adults are limiting their sodium to recommended levels. The study appears in the journal Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. [J. Peralez Gunn et al.,]

The researchers suggest that food manufacturers reduce the sodium in processed foods. And that consumers modify their eating habits—which might mean doing more cooking at home, where you have control of the salt.

—Cynthia Graber

[The above text is an exact transcript of this podcast.]

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