Monday, September 20, 2010

Reducing salt can decrease hypertension. report shows


For Immediate Release:
September 20, 2010

Lower Salt = Lower Blood Pressure

Report Finds Decreasing Salt Intake Could Save Lives by Reducing the
Number of Angelenos with High Blood Pressure While Saving Tens of
Millions of Dollars

LOS ANGELES - Today the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health
released a report showing that reducing daily salt intake can
potentially lead to substantial decreases in the number of Angelenos
with hypertension (high blood pressure) in the county, and saving many
millions of dollars in annual treatment costs. The study found that if
Angelenos, who on average take in about 50% more salt than recommended,
could collectively decrease their average intake by just 20% (687 mg of
sodium) per day, it would result in a decrease of about 52,629
hypertension cases in the county and an annual cost savings of $102
million dollars.

"Decreasing salt in one's diet is a significant step towards
reducing life-threatening conditions such as high blood pressure, heart
disease, stroke, or chronic kidney disease," said Jonathan E.
Fielding, MD, MPH, Director of Public Health and Health Officer.
"Minimizing salt would greatly reduce the estimated $400 billion
the nation spends annually on treating hypertension and heart

Hypertension is a chronic condition that greatly increases the risk of
medical complications and death from cardiovascular and kidney diseases,
such as heart attack, stroke, heart failure and end-stage kidney
failure. In LA County, 48% of adults ages 45-64 years have hypertension,
with the highest rates found among African Americans. Elevated blood
pressure is increasingly becoming a problem among children ages 8-17
years, with greater increases seen among Hispanic and African American

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans, published by the U.S. Department
of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Agriculture,
currently recommends that each person consumes, at most, 6 mg of salt
(2,300 mg of sodium or 1 teaspoon of salt) per day. This figure is even
lower (1,500 mg or 2/3 teaspoon per day) for those that have high blood
pressure, are over 40 years of age, or are African American. Most
Americans consume, on average, more than 3,400 mg of sodium daily; this
is 48% more than the recommended limit.

"The most important thing consumers can do is look at the label; low
calorie does not always mean low salt," said Dr. Fielding. "While
restaurants and food manufacturers look at ways they can decrease salt
in the foods they prepare, consumers can protect their health by reading
nutrition labels, familiarizing themselves with healthy sodium numbers
and creating healthier home recipes using less salt."

With more Americans eating away from home, processed and restaurant
prepared foods now account for more than two-third of the salt consumed
in the U.S. The report recommends preparing and eating more fresh food
at home and reading food labels or asking for salt content information
when eating at restaurants. Research shows that lowering the amount of
salt in one's diet can be done with minimal changes to taste when salt
reduction is done gradually over time.

Other recommendations include:
● Urging policymakers to work nationally to reduce the amount of
sodium in restaurant and processed foods.
● Increasing awareness through public education about the recommended
daily sodium limit and the health benefits of lowering sodium
● Implementing venue-based or venue-specific food policies that set
nutrition standards on all foods purchased, served or sold by an
institution, such as a school, or an employer.

A list of low-sodium recipes can be found at or

The report titled "The Potential Health Impact of Reducing Excess
Sodium Consumption in Los Angeles County" can be viewed online at

The Department of Public Health is committed to protecting and
improving the health of the nearly 10 million residents of Los Angeles
County. Through a variety of programs, community partnerships and
services, Public Health oversees environmental health, disease control,
and community and family health. Public Health comprises more than 4,000
employees and has an annual budget exceeding $750 million. To learn more
about Public Health and the work we do, please visit, visit our YouTube channel at, or follow us on Twitter:

# # #

No comments: