"Too much sodium raises blood pressure, which is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke," Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, said in a statement. "These diseases kill more than 800,000 Americans each year and contribute an estimated $273 billion in healthcare costs."
The CDC Vital Signs report found the most common sources of dietary sodium were: breads and rolls, luncheon meat such as deli ham or turkey, pizza, poultry, soups, cheeseburgers and other sandwiches, cheese, pasta dishes, meat dishes such as meat loaf, and snack foods such as potato chips, pretzels and popcorn.
The report found 65 percent of sodium comes from food sold in stores and 25 percent comes from restaurants meals.
The report also said reducing the sodium content of the 10 leading sources by 25 percent would lower total dietary sodium by more than 10 percent and could play a role in preventing up to an estimated 28,000 deaths per year.
The report said the average American consumes about 3,300 milligrams of sodium per day -- not including any salt added at the table. The U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommend limiting sodium intake to less than 2,300 milligrams per day, but 1,500 mg per day for people age 51 and older, African-Americans, and anyone with high blood pressure, diabetes or chronic kidney disease.