J Clin Hypertens (Greenwich). 2010;12:793-799. © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Consuming high amounts of dietary sodium is associated with hypertension. The authors analyzed the HealthStyles 2005 and 2008 survey for behaviors to lower blood pressure related to dietary sodium, including the reduction of sodium intake and reading food labels for sodium content among hypertensives. All estimates were based on self-reported data. The relative percent change (RPC) in the prevalence of these behaviors between 2005 and 2008 was assessed. During the 3-year period, there were increases in the prevalence of reducing dietary sodium (RPC=17.2%, 56.6% in 2008 vs 48.3% in 2005; P<.05) and reading food labels for sodium content (RPC=7.9%, 53.0% vs 49.1%; P<.05). In 2005, the proportion of hypertensive adults who reported reducing dietary sodium was higher for persons 65 years and older, for blacks, for those with income <$25,000, and for those with more than a high school education compared with those in their comparison groups. In 2008, those aged 65 years and older had the highest percentage, while Hispanics and blacks had essentially the same percentage for reducing sodium. Based on 2005 and 2008 HealthStyles surveys, about half of hypertensive patients reported reducing their intake of sodium and reading food labels for salt. Health care providers should emphasize the importance of knowing the daily recommended limit for dietary sodium to help adults lower this intake.