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Study finds slight reduction in salt intake could have beneficial effect on health

Posted On Fri, January 22, 2010

Reducing salt intake by just slightly more than one teaspoon a day may carry with it a host of health benefits that could not only improve one's health, but in turn reduce their health insurance premiums as a result.

According to a study by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco that was published in the most recent issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, reducing one's salt intake by three grams per day could cut the annual number of coronary heart disease cases by up to 120,000, stroke cases by up to 66,000, and myocardial infarction cases by up to 99,000.

The study also found that cutting salt intake would cut the annual number of deaths from any heart-related disease by up to 92,000 and save up to 392,000 quality-adjusted life-years and $10 to $24 billion in health care costs annually.

"The evidence supporting the call to reduce salt intake as a means of preventing cardiovascular disease is compelling," wrote Dr. Lawrence Appel and Cheryl A.M. Anderson of Johns Hopkins University in an editorial that accompanied the article, according to ABC News. "As we deliberate health care reform, let us not neglect this inexpensive, yet highly effective public health intervention for the prevention of disease."

The New York City Health Department recently announced a new proposal for retailers to voluntarily reduce the amount of salt that is used in all packaged and restaurant foods.

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