Prevalence of Excess Sodium Intake in The United States

This article addresses a problem that is facing the United States and is contributing to many health concerns- sodium intake. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found that out of 14,728 people, 89% of adults and over 90% of children had sodium intake over the recommended daily amount, which is 2,300 mg. In addition, for patients with hypertension, 86% of them exceeded the daily dietary sodium intake. Hypertension is a major risk factor for developing cardiovascular disease and is prevalent in about 29% of the United States. Increased sodium consumption can increase blood pressure, and thus cause hypertension, and by reducing sodium intake, people will also reduce their blood pressure and risk for developing cardiac problems down the road. When analyzing why the sodium intake is so high in America, there were some major food sources identified such as breads, deli meats, pizza, soup, meatloaf, and tomato sauce. In order to help combat this problem, the CDC is recommending an decrease in consumption of these foods, an increase in consumption of fruits and vegetables, and is implementing guidelines and recommendations for food manufacturers and restaurants to reduce the sodium content added to their foods.

MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2016; 64(52):1393-1397.

I believe this article is addressing a major problem in our country because “fast food” is heavily relied on for our on-the-go society. These foods are fried, battered, and have high sodium and caloric contents. This high reliance on and intake of sodium is contributing to the growing problem of obesity and heart disease in America. Specifically, this is contributing to the epidemic of hypertension that we see in pharmacies, and in my pharmacy alone, the vast majority of the “fast mover” medications are related to hypertension. I make sure my diet is low in sodium and other food additives, but not everyone has the time or resources to do this. How can we help fix our country’s dependence on sodium-rich foods so that we can target the source of a disease state that affects so many people and requires them to go on so many medications?