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March 16, 1984

Dietary Salt Intake and Blood Pressure

Author Affiliations

The University of Texas Southwestern Medical School Dallas

JAMA. 1984;251(11):1429-1430. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03340350023012

To the Editor.—  The two articles and accompanying editorials in the July 15, 1983, issue of The Journal point out the great contrasts in the strength of the current evidence on the question about dietary sodium in the pathogenesis of hypertension.The article by Holden et al purports to show no association, concluding that "it does not appear justifiable or appropriate to undertake large-scale salt restriction in the general population to prevent hypertension." The basis for this statement is their failure to find any difference in blood pressures between persons who said they ate different amounts of salty foods. Despite their sophisticated analyses and statistical methods, their data are likely worthless since such crude estimates are so inaccurate.1Dr Scribner's2 editorial on this article presents a much more sensible view, although I believe his diagram of the "saturation effect" can be better drawn (Figure). Most studies show little