People across the globe are consuming far more sodium than is healthy, according to a new study led by Harvard School of Public Health and University of Cambridge researchers. In 181 of 187 countries (constituting 99.2% of the world adult population), national intakes exceeded the World Health Organization recommended 2 grams per day of sodium. In 119 countries (88.3% of the world’s adult population), the national intake exceeded this recommended amount by more than 1 gram per day of sodium. It is the first study to estimate country-specific sodium intake.

The study was published online December 23, 2013 in BMJ Open.

Researchers found that people in East and Central Asia, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East consumed the most sodium; however, virtually all populations would benefit from sodium reduction, according to the authors.

Senior author Dariush Mozaffarian, associate professor in HSPH’s Department of Epidemiology, said, “Clearly, strong government policies are needed, together with industry cooperation and collaboration, to substantially reduce sodium.”

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