By Dr. Brian McDonough, Medical Editor

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Put down that salt shaker or at least don’t use it as often. The World Health Organization recommends no more than 2,000 mg per day.

According to a new study, if we did this, we could avoid 1.65 million deaths related to high blood pressure. This is a worldwide number based on data on sodium intake in people from 66 countries. This is about 75 percent of the world’s population.

Here in the US, the average sodium intake is 3.6 grams daily – remember 2 grams is what the WHO would like. If we could cut down to that number nearly 58,000 cardiovascular deaths per year could be prevented.

The problem is worldwide. According to the study, average daily sodium in all the countries studied exceeded the sodium recommendations: ranging from 2,180 mg in sub-Saharan Africa to 5,510 mg in central Asia.

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