For Immediate Release
March 26, 2012

KDHE Office of Communications
communications@kdheks.gov, 785-296-0461

Join KDHE for World Salt Awareness Week

State Health Officer Encourages Kansans to Reduce Sodium Intake

TOPEKA, Kan. - The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) is promoting World Salt Awareness Week, March 26 through April 1, to raise awareness of the link between a diet high in sodium and high blood pressure and to encourage Kansans to monitor their sodium intake.

“The salt shakers on our tables are not the major sources of excess sodium in our diets. I recommend you look at all your sources of food for just one week to see where you can make an effort to reduce salt in your diet,” said Robert Moser, MD, KDHE Secretary and State Health Officer. “To reduce sodium intake and keep blood pressure in check, eat more fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables, eat fewer processed foods, read nutrition labels while shopping and request lower sodium options when eating out.”

Reducing sodium intake can help prevent or delay high blood pressure. a leading cause of stroke, coronary heart disease, heart attack and heart and kidney failure in the U.S.  Information on the risk factors of heart disease and stroke can be found at  http://www.kdheks.gov/cardio/risk.htm. Also, KDHE is partnering with the Shawnee County Health Agency and Heartland Healthy Neighborhood on a grant project aimed at helping citizens reduce heart disease and stroke by reducing the amount of sodium they consume. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) about 90 percent of Americans eat more sodium than is recommended for a healthy diet. The U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommend limiting sodium to less than 2,300 milligrams, which is equal to about a teaspoon a day.  People age 51 and older, African-Americans and anyone with high blood pressure, diabetes or chronic kidney disease should limit sodium to 1,500 mg a day.

Kansans may not know that most of the sodium they consume is hidden in everyday foods that might not even taste salty. Sodium is already part of processed foods and cannot be removed. According to the CDC, 65 percent of the sodium people eat comes from processed food sold in grocery stores and 25 percent comes from foods prepared in restaurants. More than 40 percent of sodium comes from the following 10 types of foods (CDC):

To learn more about reducing sodium visit www.cdc.gov/Features/VitalSigns/Sodium/ or contact the Kansas Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Program at (785) 296-8150.

KDHE’s Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Program supports state and community initiatives to reduce the risk factors for heart disease and stroke, increase awareness of the signs and symptoms, improve emergency response, improve quality of care and eliminate health disparities. Visit www.kdheks.gov/cardio for additional information on the program.