Temporal Trends in Dietary Sodium Intake Among Adults Aged ≥19 Years — United States, 2003–2016
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Temporal Trends in Dietary Sodium Intake Among Adults Aged ≥19 Years — United States, 2003–2016

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    • Alternative Title:
      MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep
    • Description:
      Hypertension, which can be brought on by excess sodium intake, affects nearly one half of U.S. adults and is a major risk factor for heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States (1). In 2019, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) established the Chronic Disease Risk Reduction (CDRR) intake, a chronic-disease-specific recommendation for dietary sodium of 2,300 mg/day. Reducing daily sodium to CDRR intake is expected to reduce chronic disease risk among healthy persons, primarily by lowering blood pressure (2). Although the 2019 sodium CDRR intake is equivalent in number to the 2005 Tolerable Upper Limit (UL) released by NASEM (then known as the Institute of Medicine), the UL was intended to provide guidance on safe intake levels, not to serve as an intake goal (2). To describe excess sodium intake in the context of the CDRR intake goal, this report analyzed National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) data from 2003 to 2016 to yield temporal trends in usual sodium intake >2,300 mg/day and in mean sodium intake, unadjusted and adjusted for total energy intake, among U.S. adults aged ≥19 years. The percentage of U.S. adults with sodium intake above CDRR intake was 87.0% during 2003-2004 and 86.7% during 2015-2016. Among U.S. adults overall, no significant linear trend was noted from 2003 to 2016 in unadjusted or energy intake-adjusted mean sodium intake. Small, significant declines were observed in mean usual sodium intake among some groups (adults aged 19-50 years, non-Hispanic White adults, adults experiencing obesity, and adults without hypertension). However, after energy adjustment, only adults aged ≥71 years and Mexican American adults demonstrated significant change in usual sodium intake. Many U.S. adults might be at risk for chronic disease associated with sodium intake above CDRR intake, and efforts to lower sodium intake could improve population cardiovascular health. The results of this report support enhanced efforts to reduce population sodium intake and cardiovascular disease risk, including the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA's) recently released guidance for the reduction of sodium in the commercially processed, packaged, and prepared food supply.
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