Just when you thought sugar was the leading health villain, along comes salt. Sugary drinks may have contributed to 180,000 deaths around the globe in 2010, but excessive salt consumption caused 2.3 million deaths that year, according to a new study by the American Heart Association. Some key numbers presented at an AHA meeting yesterday, per Bloomberg and ABC News:
- Excess salt caused 15% of all heart-related deaths.
- 40% of the deaths were premature, meaning they occurred in people aged 69 or younger.
- The problem starts early: Researchers found that even food meant for toddlers contains too much sodium.
- Most of the deaths were in lower-income countries, with the US ranking 19th of the 30 biggest nations studied.
- Researchers say one in 10 deaths in America can be blamed on excess sodium.
- The AHA recommends limiting sodium intake to 1,500 milligrams or less per day, but 75% of the global population eats nearly twice that.
- The average global sodium intake in 2010 was almost 4,000 milligrams a day.
- The US isn't much better off: Average intake here was 3,600 milligrams per day.