Consumers in the US should cut their daily salt intake by around 35%, according to the latest set of dietary guidelines released by the US government.

The US department of agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services yesterday (31 January) launched an updated version of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans in a bid to promote healthy eating among consumers and reduce the prevalence of obesity.

The evidence-based nutritional guidance, updated every five years, is designed to “promote health, reduce the risk of chronic diseases, and reduce the prevalence of overweight and obesity through improved nutrition and physical activity”, the Department said.

The guidelines place a stronger emphasis on reducing calorie consumption and increasing physically activity. Recommendations include eating less, avoiding oversized portions, switching to fat-free or low-fat milk, choosing foods with lower sodium content and drinking water instead of sugar drinks.

“The 2010 Dietary Guidelines are being released at a time when the majority of adults and one in three children is overweight or obese and this is a crisis that we can no longer ignore,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “These new and improved dietary recommendations give individuals the information to make thoughtful choices of healthier foods in the right portions and to complement those choices with physical activity.

“The bottom line is that most Americans need to trim our waistlines to reduce the risk of developing diet-related chronic disease. Improving our eating habits is not only good for every individual and family but also for our country,” he added.

To view the full guidelines click here.