Reducing Salt Intake Could Save Thousands Of Lives

01.21.10 | FL News Team

Researchers say thousands of lives could be saved if Americans reduced the daily amount of salt in their diets by three grams. Dr. Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo of the University of California, San Francisco says the profit could be on a scale compared to that of cutting smoking by 50 percent, saving 24-billion dollars annually in health costs. Salt contributes to high blood pressure and heart disease. Men typically consume over ten grams of salt each day, while the average for women is over seven grams. The researchers say a regulatory program to reduce salt consumption would be cost effective even if the federal government picked up the tab. They say the government would still realize cost savings to Medicare, saving as much as 12 dollars in health expenses for every dollar spent on the program. The research is published in the "New England Journal of Medicine."