By AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION NEWS

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NEW ORLEANS — Most Americans consume double the recommended amount of sodium but only half of recommended potassium.

In a study presented at American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions, researchers studied 827 U.S. adults ages 20 to 69, analyzing 24-hour urine samples taken as part of the 2014 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

The average sodium intake was 3,662 milligrams per day, compared to 1,500 mg recommended by the AHA for optimal heart health. Federal dietary guidelines recommend a sodium limit of 2,300 mg. Men consumed more sodium than women.

Average potassium intake was 2,202 mg, compared to the recommended 4,700 mg. Women consumed less potassium than men, blacks consumed the least potassium, and whites consumed the most.

This was the first time 24-hour urine excretion was used for a nationally-representative estimate of U.S. sodium levels.

Because of the health risks associated with excess sodium and inadequate potassium, monitoring intake is key to shaping effective dietary policies and interventions, researchers said.