CDC: US adults exceed sodium limits

by Jeff Gelski
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Eighty-nine per cent of US adults age 19 and over eat more sodium per day than recommended by the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

ATLANTA – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 89 percent of US adults age 19 and over eat more sodium per day than recommended by the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans released Jan. 7. More than 90 percent of children also eat more sodium than recommended, according to the Jan. 8 issue of the CDC’s “Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.” 

Thomas Frieden, CDC
Dr. Thomas Frieden, CDC

“The finding that 9 of 10 adults and children still consume too much salt is alarming,” said Tom Frieden, M.D., director of the Atlanta-based CDC. “The evidence is clear: Too much sodium in our foods leads to high blood pressure, a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. Reducing sodium in manufactured and restaurant foods will give consumers more choice and save lives.”

The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends adults consume less than 2,300 mg per day of sodium, which is the Upper Limit for people ages 14 and older set by the Institute of Medicine. The recommendations are lower for children younger than 14.

The CDC analyzed data from 14,728 people age 2 and older in the 2009-12 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). The CDC found people age 19 and over had a mean daily sodium intake of 3,552 mg. The mean daily sodium intake was 4,143 mg for men and 2,978 mg for women. More men (98 percent) than women (80 percent) consumed more sodium than recommended. About 90 percent of adult white people consumed more sodium than recommended, and about 85 percent of adult black people did. Among adults with hypertension, 86 percent consumed more sodium than recommended. Among children of the ages 2-18, 92 percent to 94 percent consumed more sodium than recommended.

“More than three quarters of sodium in the American diet is estimated to come from processed and restaurant food, which gives consumers little choice when it comes to lowering daily intake,” the CDC said. “A key strategy for lowering population-wide sodium intake is gradually reducing sodium in the food supply. Some food companies have begun to voluntarily reduce sodium in their products, and others are being encouraged to take similar steps.”

The US Dept. of Health and Human Services and the US Dept. of Agriculture jointly publish the Dietary Guidelines for Americans every five years. The Dietary Guidelines provides evidence-based food and beverage recommendations for Americans ages 2 and older. The recommendations aim to promote health, prevent chronic disease, and help people reach and maintain a healthy weight.

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