The American Medical Association has urged the US federal government to take immediate action to reduce excess salt in food, which it believes will help save thousands of lives in the future.
"Excess sodium greatly increases the chance of developing hypertension, heart disease, and stroke," said Doctor Stephen Havas, AMA Vice President for Science, Quality, and Public Health.
"Research shows most Americans consume two to three times the amount of sodium that is healthy, with an estimated 75 to 80 percent of the daily intake of sodium coming from processed and restaurant foods," he pointed out Thursday.
Reducing the salt in people's diets by 50 percent over the next 10 years could save at least 150,000 lives a year, the association believes.
Havas said the United States should follow the lead of countries such as Finland and Britain that have taken action on salt and seen promising results.