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Sodium Reduction Work group

Sodium Reduction Work Group members: Click here to download meeting materials.

In 2011, the Heart Disease & Stroke Prevention (HDSP) Program began to convene the Sodium Reduction Work Group to reduce sodium intake by expanding public health efforts to implement sodium-related policies, surveillance and evaluation.

The Sodium Reduction Work Group wants to increase community policies to improve nutrition and lower blood pressure and to enhance people’s knowledge about the importance of limiting sodium in the foods that we eat. People need to understand that too much sodium is bad for your health. It can increase your blood pressure and your risk for stroke, coronary heart disease, heart attack and heart and kidney failure.

It is not the use of table salt that is harming our health (table salt accounts for about 5 per cent of salt intake). Instead, most of the sodium we eat comes from packaged, processed, store-bought and restaurant foods. Only a small amount comes from salt added during cooking and from being added at the table. Most of us have already exceeded our daily limit of sodium before cooking or adding salt at the table.

The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend limiting sodium to less than 2,300 milligrams (mg) per day. Individuals who are 51 and older and those of any age who have high blood pressure (hypertension), diabetes, chronic kidney disease or are African American should limit intake to 1,500 mg of sodium per day. These groups account for about half the U.S. population and the majority of adults.

Reducing dietary intake of sodium to 2,300 mg per day could prevent as many as 11 million cases of hypertension in the United States. Further reductions in sodium intake to 1,500 mg per day could prevent more than 16 million cases.

People can protect their own health by choosing foods low in sodium and can contribute to this important effort by asking stores and restaurants to offer low sodium products.

The Sodium Reduction Work Group is doing their part too by working diligently to identify and implement strategies to increase availability and access to healthy foods in communities and monitor progress toward reducing the amount sodium people eat. The Sodium Reduction Work Group meets on a regular basis. For meeting information, contact Neil Charvat at njcharvat@nd.gov.