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  1. In today’s environment, messages about sodium reduction compete with dietary recommendations about other nutrients and with recommendations about diseases other than hypertension. It is possible that consumers often have difficulty translating diet and health information into food choices compatible with all diet recommendations and may focus on one nutrient and fail to act on other nutrients. Research is therefore needed to elucidate the effectiveness of a single nutrient message as would be the case for sodium reduction, and consumers’ ability to integrate messages for sodium into existing well-established dietary guidance consistent with sodium reduction, such as increasing consumption of fruits and vegetables and lowering calorie intake.

  2. The appeal of salt taste has been documented. An important research area is the question of how behavior change models for sodium reduction can effectively be structured when the behavior in question is strongly motivated by the pleasure of taste.

Monitoring Sodium Intake, Sodium in the Food Supply, and Salt Taste Preference

There are a range of monitoring and surveillance research needs.

  • The importance of better monitoring the intake of sodium among the U.S. population has resulted in the recommendation that 24-hour urine collection be carried out as part of U.S. national surveys. Because 24-hour urine collection is complicated under the best of circumstances, as a first step to implementing this activity, it is possible to use existing surplus urine samples from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES) to pilot-test methodologies for comparing casual collection outcomes with measurements obtained from 24-hour collections and for improving the approaches to collecting 24-hour urine samples. Further, other methodologies should be explored, including improved and simpler approaches for use in large surveys. Research is needed to develop a more easily obtainable marker of sodium intake than 24-hour urine collection that is reliable, economical, and easy to administer for population surveys.

  • Research is needed to develop technologies to assist individuals in assessing their sodium intake. It is important to help consumers monitor their individual sodium intake through readily available and accurate measures of sodium intake. Even within the context of reducing overall sodium levels in the food supply, individuals must still take individual actions to reduce sodium intake. To do so,

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