with Andrew Noymer, Philip Stark, and Crystal Yu

The World Health Organization is running a major campaign to reduce salt consumption worldwide. However, the main lines of evidence that salt is bad come from observational studies on hypertension. We investigated WHO’s real outcome of interest: mortality. We collected data on mortality, alcohol, tobacco, sodium, and economic factors in 36 countries in 1990 and 2010. Using a nonparametric permutation test, we studied whether the sodium intake helps predict change in life expectancy after accounting for other known health predictors.