Healthcare Tips

The National Salt Reduction Initiative: Steps In The Right Direction Says The American Heart Association

May 12, 2017

The American Heart Association and the National Salt Reduction Initiative, a national collaboration led by the City of New York, share a common goal - to gradually lower the amount of sodium (salt) in the American diet.

"Lowering sodium is essential to reversing the trend of more Americans developing high blood pressure - a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke," said Nancy Brown, the chief executive officer of the American Heart Association.

"Adjusting our taste preferences, food manufacturing and marketing methods isn't easy - but efforts such as National Salt Reduction Initiative are steps in the right direction. These efforts are to be commended as an important first step toward significant sodium reduction in the food supply," Brown said.

Excess sodium in the diet is strongly linked to the development of high blood pressure, which is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. The vast majority of Americans are consuming sodium at levels that are too high to be considered safe.

The American Heart Association recommends that all Americans consume less than 1500 mg/day of sodium - a nearly impossible task for most people in a national food environment where over 75 percent of the sodium consumed by Americans comes from processed foods.

Currently, one in three Americans has high blood pressure, and an estimated 99 percent of middle-aged adults will develop it in their lifetime.

The American Heart Association has set a goal for 2020 - to improve the cardiovascular health of all Americans by 20 percent while reducing deaths from cardiovascular diseases and stroke by 20 percent. Part of that goal is helping people reduce the amount of sodium they eat to less than 1500 mg/day.

"We must - and we can - work together as a country to help each and every American eat a heart healthy, delicious diet - while consuming no more than 1500 mg/day of sodium," Brown said.

The association receives funding primarily from individuals; foundations and corporations (including pharmaceutical, device manufacturers and other companies) also make donations and fund specific association programs and events. The association has strict policies to prevent these relationships from influencing the science content. Revenues from pharmaceutical and device corporations are available at americanheart/corporatefunding.

- Consumer tool: Where's the salt? Test Your Sodium Smarts at heart/sodiumquiz. Answer 10 questions about which food products are higher in sodium and get your score.

American Heart Association