Findings from the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed that the average U.S. sodium intake is still high and comes from various food types and places. 

Hypertension, a known risk factor for cardiovascular disease, can be managed by reducing sodium intake to lower blood pressure. Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2007–2008 found that the average daily intake of sodium in the U.S. was 3,266mg with 44% of sodium coming from 10 food types. 

In 2013–2014, the What We Eat in American (WWEIA) interviews and examinations were conducted in 9,813 patients (68.5% overall response rate). Of the total patients, 8,067 patients were aged at least 2 years and had a complete 24-hour dietary recall. The results showed that the average daily U.S. sodium intake was 3,409mg—not including salt added at the table—with 44% of sodium coming from 10 food types and 70% from 25 food types. 

Breads were the top source, comprising 6% of sodium consumed. This was followed by pizza, sandwiches, cold cuts and cured meats, soup, and rice. The mean sodium density was 1,683mg/1,000kcal. Sixty-one percent of sodium came from food bought at stores, followed by fast food/pizza restaurants (16.7%), restaurants with waitstaff (10.7%), and school cafeteria or child/adult care center (2%). The highest sodium density (mg/1000kcal) foods came from those eaten at restaurants. With sodium intake coming from commonly consumed foods, this highlights the need for “sodium reduction across the food supply.” 

Related Articles

The Report also noted food types varied by race and ethnicity, where non-Hispanic Asians appeared to consume a more sodium-dense diet vs. non-Hispanic whites (P<0.05). Sodium intake was highest among patients aged 20–50 years and compared to women, men had a significantly higher sodium intake (P<0.001). 

In general, 70% of sodium intake in the U.S. in people aged 2 years and older came from 25 food categories. This sodium intake in the U.S. continues to “remain in excess of Healthy People 2020” objectives. Monitoring the different sources of sodium intake in the population can help address sodium reduction measures to ultimately lower blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. Individuals can compare the Nutrition Facts label and choose lower sodium options. 

This data “can serve as a baseline to monitor changes in the population’s sodium intake and food types contributing to sodium intake overall, and by subgroup to help target initiatives,” the authors concluded.

For more information visit