According to a study released in 2010 by Stanford University, a 9.5 percent reduction in sodium in a person’s diet could help many Americans avoid heart attacks and fatal strokes.

In March, the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention Cardiovascular Health Program began a campaign to raise awareness of foods that are high in sodium and the importance of monitoring how much to reduce sodium consumption.

According to a study done by the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the average American adult eats about 3,300 milligrams of sodium each day. That is at least 1,000 milligrams more than people should be eating. Most sodium is found in packaged, processed and restaurant foods.

“Oftentimes, foods high in sodium do not taste salty,” said Dr. Sheila Pinette, Director of Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention. “If we can help Maine people better understand what’s in their food and help them make healthier choices, we can reduce the number of heart attacks and strokes across the state.”

The foods that are the biggest sources of sodium may be surprising. According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control, bread and rolls are the top sources of sodium in the American diet, followed by cold cuts, pizza, poultry and soups.

Maine CDC has developed fact sheets, cards that can be used to monitor sodium and has produced public service announcements that will air on radio.

Healthy Waldo County, a Healthy Maine Partnership, is supporting members of the local community who would like to cut back on their salt intake. Residents can get tips on nutrition, physical exercise, and many more health topics by going to healthywaldocounty.org. More information on how to reduce the risks of heart attack and stroke is available online at mainehearthealth.org.