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Strategies to Reduce Sodium Intake in the United States
The need for changes in the food supply is not a conclusion unique to this committee, nor are the challenges associated with consuming a low-sodium diet, given the general nature of the food supply as experienced by the average American. Rather, as documented in Chapter 2, the major public health initiatives beginning in 1969 called on the food industry to reduce the sodium content of foods. Table 8-1 lists some examples of related comments from study authors.
Despite long-standing efforts by government, public health groups, and food industry leaders to encourage reformulation of foods to lower-sodium content and thus reduce sodium in the food supply, the U.S. food supply remains high in sodium as described in Chapter 2. Between 1984 and 2004, the sodium content of a number of McDonald’s products was reduced by an average of 9 percent; the content of a number of Quaker products was reduced by an average of 23 percent; and the amount of sodium in 13 Campbell’s soup products declined by an average of 10 percent (CSPI, 2005). A tracking survey of a relatively small sample of foods carried out by a public interest group beginning in 1983, indicates that of the 69 products still marketed in 2004, the average sodium content
TABLE 8-1 Examples of Comments Concerning the Need for Change in the Food Supply
“The DASH [Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension] diet was successful as long as food was provided to the study participants … as soon as the respondents had to take care of their diet themselves … the beneficial effects of this diet diminished or disappeared.”