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Health and Budgetary Impact of Achieving 10-Year U.S. Sodium Reduction Targets

      Introduction

      This study estimates the health, economic, and budgetary impact resulting from graduated sodium reductions in the commercially produced food supply of the U.S., which are consistent with draft U.S. Food and Drug Administration voluntary guidance and correspond to Healthy People 2020 objectives and the 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

      Methods

      Reduction in mean U.S. dietary sodium consumption to 2,300 mg/day was implemented in a microsimulation model designed to evaluate prospective cardiovascular disease–related policies in the U.S. population. The analysis was conducted in 2018–2020, and the microsimulation model was constructed using various data sources from 1948 to 2018. Modeled outcomes over 10 years included prevalence of systolic blood pressure ≥140 mmHg; incident myocardial infarction, stroke, cardiovascular disease events, and cardiovascular disease–related mortality; averted medical costs by payer in 2017 U.S. dollars; and productivity.

      Results

      Reducing sodium consumption is expected to reduce the number of people with systolic blood pressure ≥140 mmHg by about 22% and prevent approximately 895.2 thousand cardiovascular disease events (including 218.9 thousand myocardial infarctions and 284.5 thousand strokes) and 252.5 thousand cardiovascular disease–related deaths over 10 years in the U.S. Savings from averted disease costs are expected to total almost $37 billion—most of which would be attributed to Medicare ($18.4 billion) and private insurers ($13.4 billion)—and increased productivity from reduced disease burden and premature mortality would account for another $18.2 billion in gains.

      Conclusions

      Systemic sodium reductions in the U.S. food supply can be expected to produce substantial health and economic benefits over a 10-year period, particularly for Medicare and private insurers.
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