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Strategies to Reduce Sodium Intake in the United States
FIGURE S-4 Trends in elevated blood pressure/hypertension from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) for persons ≥ 20 years of age.
NOTES: Hypertension, as defined by the data source, is an elevated blood pressure (systolic pressure ≥ 140 mm Hg or diastolic pressure ≥ 90 mm Hg) and/or use of anti-hypertensive medications; data age-adjusted to 2000 population.
SOURCE: NCHS, 2009.
awareness campaigns, efforts to motivate consumers, and requests to the food industry to support these activities by marketing lower-sodium alternative products and voluntarily lowering the sodium content of its products. Overall, these approaches have not resulted in reduced sodium intake. As Figure S-2 shows, sodium consumption remains high. One reason is that the nature of the sensory preference for salt has likely resulted in lower-sodium products tasting less acceptable than “regular” products to many consumers. Also, the message about sodium appears to have been lost in an array of competing messages about fat, sugar, and cholesterol. A national survey conducted by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) suggests that between 1982 and 1990—a time of intense educational programs on reduction of sodium intake and the only period with available data—the maximum percentage of Americans who reported attempting to reduce their sodium intake never reached more than about 30 percent. Voluntary reductions in the sodium content of the food supply have had limited success. Reports suggest that during the past 20 years some food companies have accomplished a 10–20 percent reduction in sodium for some products, with a few reportedly achieving reductions closer to 40–50 percent. While this is encouraging, the committee found the general picture to reveal little