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HHS HealthBeat (March 21, 2013)

A little less sodium a lot of lives

Overflowing salt shaker.

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Cut Back Salt

From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I’m Ira Dreyfuss with HHS HealthBeat.

Researchers looking at three computer models have figured out what would happen if we all started to use a little less sodium – commonly, salt – in our food. At the University of California, San Francisco, Pamela Coxson had the computer models assume we could work our way, a bit at a time, to the dietary equivalent of a half teaspoon less salt a day over 10 years:

“All three models predicted mortality reductions on the order of hundreds of thousands of avoided deaths over the 10 years.”

That’s up to a half million lives.

Most of the sodium we get is in prepared foods and meals out, so it pays to look hard at the nutrition labeling.

The study in the journal Hypertension was supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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HHS HealthBeat is a production of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I’m Ira Dreyfuss.

Last revised: March 22, 2013