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Invited Commentary |

A Call to Our Hospitals: Please Hold the Salt!  Comment on “Evaluation of Sodium Levels in Hospital Patient Menus”

Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, PhD, MD, MAS
Arch Intern Med. 2012;172(16):1262-1263. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2012.3466.
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Arcand et al1 and their documentation of universally high sodium content in the food that is served to inpatients at 3 large acute care facilities in Ontario, Canada, serve as a reminder of how far our health care institutions still need to go to remain consistent with their mission of curing the sick and promoting health. The implications of this important work are 3-fold.

First, the finding of excessive sodium in the meals offered to patients with diabetes and those with sodium restrictions underscores the potential for inpatient food service to contribute to the exacerbation or slow resolution of the very conditions that may have led to the hospitalization, including the common salt-sensitive conditions of heart, kidney, and liver failure. Therapeutic goals and nutritional goals should be aligned, particularly for these conditions, and optimized to ensure the best outcomes in the hospital and in the ongoing care for these often chronic conditions.

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