Americans Unconcerned About Sodium Intake

Reduce sodium consumption to manage blood pressure and hypertension

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Though sodium, mostly in the form of table salt, can be problematic for those with high blood pressure, few Americans know how much sodium they should consume each day and most seem unconcerned with their personal intake.

About 70 percent of Americans do not know the maximum amount of sodium they should consume in a day, and 59 percent are not concerned about how much sodium they consume, according to the 2011 International Food Information Council Sodium Survey.

"Limit your daily sodium intake to 1,500 mg."

The numbers weren't much better for those with high blood pressure, with 56 percent admitting they don't know how much they should consume in a day or overestimating the amount.

Marianne Smith Edge, International Food Information Council senior vice president of nutrition and food safety, said that it is surprising that Americans are still not aware of sodium guidelines with all of the attention sodium has received in recent years, including the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

She said results of the survey show a great educational opportunity to highlight ways to manage blood pressure, especially to high-risk populations such as those with hypertension.

The 2011 IFIC Sodium Survey took a random survey of 1003 U.S. adults, asking questions about knowledge of sodium in food, perceptions of reduced sodium foods and interest in learning more about sodium.

They found the majority at 83 percent thought certain patients such as those who are overweight or have high blood pressure should be concerned about their sodium intake.

However, most expressed little interest in learning about sodium. Of those who were interested in learning more about sodium, 55 percent said they wanted to hear that information from the medical community, while 46 percent were interested in hearing about it on food labels.

The most popular reason for failing to limit sodium intake was taste, with 40 percent of respondents believing that the food they eat will not taste as good if they monitor their sodium intake. When asked about the three most important elements of a healthy diet, 70 percent answered eating fruits and vegetables, while only 38 percent responded that monitoring sodium should be among the top three choices.

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Review Date: 
September 29, 2011
Last Updated:
September 29, 2011