Public release date: 11-Sep-2009
Contact: Warren Robak
Lowering sodium consumption could save US $18 billion annually in health costs, study finds
Reducing Americans' average intake of sodium to the amount recommended by health officials could save the nation as much as $18 billion annually in avoided health care costs and improve the quality of life for millions of people, according to a new RAND Corporation study.
Researchers say that better strategies for lowering sodium intake broadly across the nation's population still need to be developed. Studies estimate that more than 75 percent of Americans dietary sodium intake comes from processed foods rather than from salt added during cooking at home or at the dining table. Restaurant food also is generally high in sodium.
The study estimates that meeting national sodium guidelines could eliminate 11 million cases of high blood pressure nationally and extend the lives of thousands of people each year. The monetary value of the improved quality of life would be an estimated $32 billion annually, according to the findings published in the September/October edition of the Journal of Health Promotion.