September 17 2013
Salt: Government Ignores Report It Commissioned
Michael Bloomberg no doubt sees the various studies showing bans, taxes, and restrictions on soda do nothing to sway people to make healthier drink choices (and in some cases may backfire, encouraging people to consume even more sugary drinks); he simply chooses to ignore them. Bloomberg doesn't let the facts get in the way of trying to control the way people live. Instead, Bloomberg, the standard-bearer of the nanny state, tells his troops to march on, impervious to the pile of evidence proving he's wasting his time. And now it turns out, this habit of ignoring the evidence isn't solely an affliction suffered by egotistical, rich (and bored) mayors of major U.S. cities.
Now, the control freaks over at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have begun operating in a very Bloombergian way, deciding to ignore evidence contrary to the agency's agenda. Specifically, the CDC has decided to ignore an Institute of Medicine report (one the agency actually commissioned!) on the efficacy of government-led salt-reduction programs. Bloomberg News Service writer Michelle Fay Cortez reports:
Four months after an Institute of Medicine report said reducing salt to the lowest recommended level doesn’t improve health and may harm it, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said they disagree. In an article published today in the American Journal of Hypertension, the CDC and New York City health officials said getting Americans to eat less salt remains a key objective with the potential to save thousands of lives.
The IOM report stirred controversy after doctors and news organizations suggested the findings meant national efforts to cut salt consumption were unnecessary and potentially dangerous. The CDC, which commissioned the IOM report, the New York City Department of Health and others are now writing in to reiterate their commitment to lowering sodium consumption.
“We strongly believe that given the current high levels of sodium consumption and the preponderance of scientific evidence supporting lower consumption, sodium reduction strategies must remain at the top of the public health agenda,” said New York City Health Commissioner Thomas Farley and his colleagues. “It is the shared responsibility of public health leaders, journalists, and government officials to get the message right: reducing sodium intake saves lives.”
The IOM review analyzed studies from the past decade to see if sodium reduction prevented heart disease and death. While more sodium does increase heart disease risk, reducing it too much can also cause harm for some people, the report found.
One can disagree with the IOM report's findings and still agree that the government should back off regulating salt. If anything, the latest research (which was examined by the IOM) proves that the science isn't settled on salt. People can still work to lower their sodium consumption with the help of their own doctors, but salt-reduction policies for the general population should be stopped. It's a waste of time, taxpayer dollars and a stunning rebuke of good science from a so-called scientific agency.