Science

Too Much Salt Causes 2.3 Million Deaths Every Year

By Sean Kane , Mar 22, 2013 02:06 PM EDT

Excessive salt intake has long been associated with health risks, but a new study reveals just how much damage salt does to our health.

The study, presented at the American Heart Association’s 2013 Scientific Sessions, finds that most adults around the world eat too much salt.

The research consisted of 247 adults in the 2010 Global Burden of Disease Survey. The collaborative study from researchers from 50 countries measured these adults' sodium intake from 1990 to 2010, based on food questionnaires. The results show that adults from all corners of the earth eat way too much salt.

The World Health Organization recommends adults consume no more than 2,000 mg of sodium per day. And the American Heart Association recommends only 1,500 mg per day. But the AHA study found that, of those surveyed, adults all over the world eat a whopping average of 4,000 mg of sodium every day.

Individuals from 187 countries were included in the survey. And respondents from 181 of those countries, who make up 99 percent of the world’s population, exceeded the WHO’s recommended levels. Kenya was the only nation of respondents who did not exceed the AHA’s recommendation

The United States ranks 19th out of the 30 largest countries in the study, and according to the research, one in 10 heart-related deaths in the United States is linked to excessive salt intake. This one in 10 figure translates to 429 per million American deaths, Time Healthland reports.

Other, more troubling research presented at the AHA meeting found that young children are also eating way too much salt. A study found that 75 percent of prepackaged meals intended for babies and toddlers contained high levels of sodium. The researchers classified foods with more than 210 mg per serving as “high in sodium,” and they found that some meals intended for toddlers contained as much as 630 mg of sodium.

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