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Sodium consumption remains excessive across all age ranges

Friday December 20, 2013
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Over the past decade, sodium consumption in the U.S. has changed little, with the amount in people’s diets remaining excessive, according to a CDC report.

During 2007–10, the prevalence of excess usual sodium intake ranged from 79.1% for U.S. children ages 1-3 to 95.4% for U.S. adults ages 19-50, according to a report in the Dec. 20 issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

A statistically significant 2.7–4.9 percentage point decline in excess usual sodium intake occurred from 2003–06 to 2007–10 among children ages 1-3, 4-8 and 9-13, but not among adolescents or adults.

Data came from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey of 34,916 U.S. residents ages 1 and older. Excess sodium intake in the report was defined as 1,500 mg/day at ages 1–3, 1,900 mg/day at 4–8, 2,200 mg/day at 9–13 and 2,300 mg/day at 14 and older.

Excess sodium is a major contributor to heart disease and stroke, two of the nation’s leading causes of death. “Given that average [calorie] and sodium intakes have changed little over time, coupling efforts to reduce obesity with efforts to reduce the sodium content per calorie in foods might accelerate progress,” the authors wrote.

“Considering that 8.1% of sodium intake among U.S. children comes from school meals, new school food guidelines might promote progress toward achieving goals for reducing sodium consumption among children who obtain meals at school.

“Other ongoing public health efforts include working with industry to gradually reduce sodium in commercially processed packaged and restaurant foods. Even a 400-mg reduction in mean U.S. sodium intake might save billions of healthcare dollars.”

Report: www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6250a1.htm

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