Sodium intake, health implications, and the role of population-level strategies.


Aljuraiban GS(1), Jose AP(2), Gupta P(3), Shridhar K(2), Prabhakaran D(2)(4).
Author information:
(1)Department of Community Health Sciences, College of Applied Medical Sciences, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
(2)Centre for Chronic Conditions and Injuries, Public Health Foundation of India, Gurugram, Haryana, India.
(3)Centre for Chronic Disease Control, New Delhi, India.
(4)London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK.


Evidence to date suggests that high sodium intake affects health adversely, yet the role of a population-level strategy to reduce sodium intake is often contested. This review focuses on current available evidence on regional sodium intake levels, health implications of sodium intake, and population-level strategies implemented worldwide. The limitations in evidence, the difficulties in implementing population-wide strategies to reduce sodium intake, and the need for such strategies are critically reviewed. Evidence clearly shows that sodium has an adverse effect on blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and mortality. However, whether reduced sodium intake benefits all individuals or only hypertensive individuals is still unclear. Methodological issues and publication bias in current evidence are other matters of concern in sodium-related research. While it is essential to continue working toward the World Health Organization's target of 30% reduction in sodium intake, due consideration should be given to improving the quality of research, reducing bias in publications, and reviewing evidence more critically.