PHOTO: A new study that discounts the health implications of eating too much salt is leaving a bitter taste in the mouths of many in the medical world. Photo credit: Karyn Christner/Flickr
Concerns are being raised by a number of health organizations and physicians over new research that downplays the link between high sodium consumption and health problems. The study found no association between salt intake and risk of heart failure or mortality among the elderly over a 10-year span. But Dr. Rose Marie Robertson, chief science and medical officer with the American Heart Association, says the study had a limited number of participants, who self-reported their intake. “And you know we’re not very good at remembering many things, but particularly it’s been well demonstrated that if you ask us what we eat, we invariably underestimate many things about that and it’s just not accurate,” she points out. Robertson says it remains clear that a high sodium diet increases the risk for high blood pressure, which uncontrolled can lead to more serious health problems, including heart attack and stroke. While people should be conscious of not regularly consuming too much salt, Robertson says keeping your blood pressure in check should also include other healthy lifestyle choices. “So controlling your weight, getting to a healthy body weight, engaging in physical activity,” she states. “We all ought to be exercising, doing something vigorous at least 30 minutes a day.” According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly one in three adults has high blood pressure, which is a primary or contributing cause in 1,000 deaths in the U.S. each day.