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March 5, 2019

Statement from Dr. Tom Frieden, President and CEO of Resolve to Save Lives, an initiative of Vital Strategies, on the release of the US report on Dietary Reference Intakes (DRI) for Sodium and Potassium

(New York, USA)- Today the National Academy of Medicine released the first update to the Dietary Reference Intakes for Sodium in nearly 15 years, confirming that too much salt kills. Dr. Frieden said:

“Eating too much salt is a leading cause of high blood pressure and causes more than 3 million deaths around the world every year. The new, rigorously derived recommendations from the National Academies of Sciences reaffirm the bottom line message to the world: too much salt is harmful, lower is better and will save lives.”

The Dietary Reference Intakes are used by federal, state and local governments, as well as private sector industries, to set salt policies.

Additional background:

Excess salt increases blood pressure and the risk of cardiovascular disease. Globally, excess salt consumption (more than 5 grams per day; 2000 milligrams of sodium) is responsible for 3 million deaths from heart disease, stroke and related causes each year.i

Four out of five deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries, and nearly half are among people younger than 70.

Salt is the term commonly used for sodium chloride (NaCl), which is table salt. Sodium chloride is 40% sodium and 60% chloride. One teaspoon of table salt contains 2,300 mg of sodium.

The new Dietary Reference Intakes also confirmed that among generally healthy individuals, dietary potassium intake should increase. A higher intake of potassium lowers blood pressure.

Resolve to Save Lives’ work in salt reduction

Resolve to Save Lives’ approach to salt reduction aims to reduce the global intake of salt by 30% and is based on the World Health Organization’s SHAKE Technical Package.

We have identified a core set of salt reduction strategies, and work with countries to implement a strategy according to their key sources of salt, complementary efforts and political will.

Our Cardiovascular Health team works with local, national and global partners to track salt consumption rigorously and help scale up proven strategies to reduce salt consumption. We are currently working in China, Ethiopia, Thailand, Vietnam and Philippines on salt reduction interventions.

For more information on Resolve to Save Lives’ work in salt reduction, please visit: https://www.linkscommunity.org/toolkit/#salt

Media Contact:

Erin Sykes, Resolve to Save Lives: esykes@resolvetosavelives.org; +1.646.612.0001

Christina Honeysett, Vital Strategies: choneysett@vitalstrategies.org; +1.914.424.3356

Tracey Johnston, Vital Strategies: tjohnston@vitalstrategies.org; +44.(0)7889.081.170

About Resolve to Save Lives

Resolve to Save Lives is a five-year, $225 million campaign funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Gates Philanthropy Partners, which is funded with support from the Chan Zuckerberg Foundation. It is led by Dr. Tom Frieden, former director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and housed at Vital Strategies. To find out more visit: https://www.resolvetosavelives.org or Twitter @ResolveTSL

About Vital Strategies

Vital Strategies is a global health organization that believes every person should be protected by a strong public health system. Our programs reach into 73 countries and help prevent death and illness from noncommunicable disease, reduce harm caused by environmental factors, and support cities as engines for public health. We consult with governments on issues including restricting junk food marketing to kids, promoting smoke-free laws, improving indoor and outdoor air quality, and strengthening road safety. These are protections that can add up to millions of lives saved. Our team combines evidence-based strategies with innovation to help develop and implement sound public health policies, manage programs efficiently, strengthen data systems, conduct research and design strategic communication campaigns for policy and behavior change.

To find out more, please visit www.vitalstrategies.org or Twitter @VitalStrat.


i “Global, regional, and national comparative risk assessment of 84 behavioural, environmental and occupational, and metabolic risks or clusters of risks for 195 countries and territories, 1990–2017: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2017,” The Lancet, Volume 392, (2018) 1923-1994

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