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Americans - A Salty Lot

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 5:39am

Mike Stobbe, AP

Most U.S. adults should eat less than a teaspoon of salt each day, but a new government report says just 1 in 18 meet that goal. Health officials go on to advise that 70 percent of adults – including people with high blood pressure, all African-Americans and everyone over 40 – should actually limit their salt intake to a more restrictive two-thirds of a teaspoon.

Overall, only 1 in 10 adults meet the teaspoon standard, said the CDC study. But for those who should be even stingier, only 1 in 18 manage to do it. The research repeated what others have found, that the vast majority of dietary salt comes from processed and restaurant foods. And it concluded that salt was most commonly found in cold cuts and other meats, and in baked goods and other items counted as grain-based products.

Salt reduction has become a recent focus of public health campaigns. New York City, the heart association and nearly three dozen other groups have been trying to persuade food manufacturers and chain restaurants to reduce salt content by more than 50 percent over the next 10 years. The CDC and federal health agencies also have had sodium-reduction talks with food companies.

One in three U.S. adults has high blood pressure, and the government estimates that nine in 10 will develop it in their lifetime.

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