A modest cut of just 1 g in daily salt intake could ward off nearly 9 million cases of heart disease and strokes and save 4 million lives by 2030, suggest the estimates of a modelling study published in the open access journal BMJ Nutrition Prevention & Health.
Salt intake in China is one of the highest in the world, averaging 11 g/day—over twice the maximum recommended amount. High salt intake drives up blood pressure and therefore the risk of cardiovascular disease, which accounts for 40% of all deaths in China every year.
The researchers set out to estimate the health gains that could be achieved by reducing salt intake across the nation, with the aim of helping to inform the development of a doable salt reduction programme.
They compiled the latest and most reliable figures for population size, salt intake, blood pressure and disease rates by region and age and then estimated the impact on cardiovascular health for 3 different approaches.
The first of these was a 1 g/day reduction in salt intake to be achieved within 1 year. The second was the WHO’s interim target of a 30% reduction by 2025—equivalent to a gradual reduction of 3.2 g/day.
The third was reducing salt intake to less than 5 g/day by 2030, the target set by the Chinese government in its action plan for health and development, ‘Healthy China 2030’.
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