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Am J Public Health. 2004 Jan;94(1):19-22.

Reducing the public health burden from elevated blood pressure levels in the United States by lowering intake of dietary sodium.

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Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, 21201, USA.


Elevated blood pressure levels are a major cause of heart disease and stroke. Healthy People 2010 established objectives to reduce mortality from these diseases by 20% and to reduce the major causal factors associated with these elevated levels, such as excess sodium intake. The American public consumes far more sodium than is needed, most of which is added by food manufacturers and restaurants. In November 2002, the American Public Health Association adopted a policy resolution calling for a 50% reduction in sodium in the nation's food supply over the next 10 years. Such a reduction would greatly enhance the chances of attaining the Healthy People 2010 objectives and would save at least 150 000 lives annually. This issue warrants public health intervention.

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