(HealthDay News) – The mean global sodium intake is almost double the level recommended by the World Health Organization, which has a significant impact on cardiovascular disease, according to two studies presented at the American Heart Association’s Epidemiology & Prevention/Nutrition, Physical Activity & Metabolism 2013 Scientific Sessions, held from March 19–22 in New Orleans.

Saman Fahimi, MD, MPhil, from the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, and colleagues conducted a systematic review of 247 surveys of adult sodium intake from 66 countries. The researchers found that the mean global sodium intake was 3.95g per day in 2010, with considerable heterogeneity by sex and country. In 97% and 95% of countries, the mean sodium intakes of adult men and women, respectively, were >2g/day. From 1990–2010, the global sodium intake increased by 124mg/day, with an increase of >100mg/day in 83 countries and a decrease of >100mg/day in 15 countries.

Dariush Mozaffarian, MD, DrPH, from Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues used data from the same surveys to examine the global impact of excess sodium intake on blood pressure-related cardiovascular disease. The researchers found that the mean global sodium intake was 4g/day in 2010, with regional variation from 2.2–5.6g/day. In 2010, nearly 2.3 million deaths were attributable to excess sodium intake, including 42%  due to heart attacks and 41% to stroke. >80% of these deaths were seen in low- and mid-income countries.

“National and global public health measures, such as comprehensive sodium reduction programs, could potentially save millions of lives,” Mozaffarian said in a statement.

Several authors from the Fahimi study disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical, medical technology, and nutrition industries. One author from the Mozaffarian study disclosed financial ties to Unilever.

Press Release – Fahimi
Press Release – Mozaffarian
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