(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- With 73 million Americans suffering from high blood
pressure, the U.S. food service industry is attempting to make a change in
public health by reducing the amount of salt added tp processed foods.
Reducing salt intake could have widespread implications for the U.S population
by preventing strokes and heart attacks in nearly 1 million Americans, experts
say, and saving $32.1 billion in medical costs.
Researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine and the Veterans Affairs
Palo Alto Health Care System created a computerized model to show the effects of
reduced salt intake on a large population, aged 40 to 85. Results showed a salt
intake reduction would allow 513,885 Americans to be spared from potentially
fatal strokes and 480,358 Americans to be spared from heart attacks.
create hypothetical health and cost benefits, researchers used two different
models to attempt a large-scale reduction of salt intake. A voluntary industry
program was shown to be most potentially successful, cutting salt intake by 9.5
percent. A sodium tax would have less of an impact, with a 6 percent decrease in
This study was inspired by the United Kingdom’s efforts that began in 2003 to
decrease salt content. So far, these efforts have resulted in a 20 to 30 percent
decline in salt found in store-bought processed foods. New York City already
began a wide-range health initiative in January intended to decrease restaurant
salt use by 25 percent over the next five years.
SOURCE: Annals of Internal Medicine, March 4, 2010