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For Immediate Release: October 1, 2010
Contact: CDC Division of Media Relations
(404) 639-3286

CDC Awards $1.9 Million for State and Local Sodium Reduction Initiatives

Five states and communities across the country will receive a total of $1.9 million for sodium (salt) reduction efforts, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced today. The awards will support policy strategies to create healthier food environments and help reduce sodium intake in the population for a three-year funding period.

The grantees are:

  • California (working with Shasta County), $412,198
  • Kansas (working with Shawnee County), $412,197
  • Los Angeles County, $363,366
  • New York City, $412,195
  • New York State (working with Broome and Schenectady counties), $325,000

The 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that most adults (those with high blood pressure, those middle-aged and older, and/or African-American) should limit sodium intake to 1,500 milligrams per day. These groups comprise nearly 70 percent of the U.S. adult population. All other adults are recommended to consume less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium.

But studies show that on average U.S. adults consume more than 3,400 milligrams of sodium per day. An estimated 77 percent of this sodium comes from processed and restaurant foods. High sodium consumption is a major contributor to high blood pressure, a leading cause of stroke, coronary heart disease, heart attack, and heart and kidney failure in the United States.

"Sodium reduction is a public health imperative that would benefit everyone," said Darwin R. Labarthe, M.D., Ph.D, director, CDC's Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention. "We must continue to build the public health capacity for reducing sodium consumption by working on strategies at the national, state and local levels."

Building on existing community policies to improve nutrition and lower blood pressure, each funded project will support implementation of at least one major sodium reduction policy as well as evaluation activities. Activities could include working with restaurants and food service suppliers, grocery stores, schools, hospitals and government facilities to develop low sodium food policies, and media campaigns to help raise awareness of the dangers of too much sodium in the diet. CDC will provide technical assistance to the awardees and help them evaluate programs and policy efforts.

Research shows that reducing the average sodium intake of the adult population to 1,500 milligrams per day could prevent 16 million cases of high blood pressure and save an estimated $26 billion per year in health care costs.

People who reduce their sodium consumption benefit from improved blood pressure and reduce their risk for developing other serious health problems. Choosing foods like fresh fruits and vegetables, asking that foods be prepared without added salt when eating out, and reading the nutrition label of foods before purchasing can improve health for all adults.

For more information about sodium and blood pressure, visit www.cdc.gov/salt.

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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES

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