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Adults Worldwide Eat Double the Daily AHA-Recommended Amount of Sodium

Americans average 3,600 mg per day (Mar. 21)

Seventy-five percent of the world’s population consumes nearly twice the daily recommended amount of sodium, according to research presented at the Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Metabolism and Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention 2013 Scientific Sessions of the American Heart Association (AHA), held in New Orleans, Louisiana.

According to the AHA, global sodium intake from commercially prepared food, table salt, salt, and soy sauce added during cooking averaged nearly 4,000 mg a day in 2010.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends limiting sodium to less than 2,000 mg a day, and the AHA recommends limiting sodium to less than 1,500 mg a day. In the U.S., the average sodium intake was about 3,600 mg a day, the researchers found.

“This study is the first time that information about sodium intake by country, age, and gender is available,” said lead author Saman Fahini, MD, MPhil. “We hope our findings will influence national governments to develop public health interventions to lower sodium.”

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the number one cause of death in the world, the AHA says. Excess sodium intake increases blood pressure, and hypertension is one of the major contributors to the development of CVD.

Out of 187 countries, 181 (97%) exceeded the WHO’s recommended sodium intake of less than 2,000 mg a day, and 119 countries (64%) exceeded this recommended intake by more than 1,000 mg a day.

As part of the 2010 Global Burden of Diseases Study, the researchers analyzed 247 surveys to estimate adult sodium intake — stratified by age, gender, region, and nation — between 1990 and 2010.

Source: American Heart Association; March 21, 2013.

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