The Need to Reduce Sodium in the U.S. Food Supply Now
S. Havas. American Medical Association, Chicago, IL. Cereal Foods World 53(1):17-20.
About 850,000 Americans die annually from cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), primarily coronary heart disease and stroke. These diseases are largely preventable. One of the major risk factors for these diseases is hypertension, which itself is largely preventable. More than 27% of U.S. adults have hypertension, defined as a systolic blood pressure (SBP) >140 mm Hg, diastolic blood pressure (DBP) >90 mm Hg, and/or the use of antihypertensive medications. Another 31% have prehypertension (SBP 120–139 mm Hg and/or DBP 80–89 mm Hg). The risk for developing CVD increases progressively the higher blood pressure rises above 115/75 mm Hg. As indicated in a report adopted unanimously by the American Medical Association (AMA) House of Delegates in June 2006, the evidence tying excess sodium to increased rates of hypertension, death, and disability is overwhelming. Since that report was published, a World Health Organization report has called the evidence “conclusive.” This article examines the role of sodium in increasing blood pressure, summarizes the major sources of sodium, defines the AMA’s recommendations for the reduction of salt, and proposes new labeling changes.