WASH CALLS FOR SALT REDUCTION NOW TO MARK WORLD HEART DAY
26 September 2014
World Action on Salt and Health is calling on ALL countries to take action NOW to reduce salt intake and saves lives - in support of World Heart Day (29th September 2014) and its campaign to create heart-healthy environments.
Recent research published in the New England Journal of Medicine estimates that worldwide, 1.65 million deaths from cardiovascular causes in 2010 were attributed to salt intakes above the WHO recommendation. Currently we are eating between 8-14g of salt globally, FAR above the WHO limit of 5g, putting us at risk of premature death and disability.
Salt puts up our blood pressure increasing our risk of having a stroke or heart attack. Worldwide, we are all eating too much salt; on average TWICE the amount of salt that is recommended by the World Health Organisation (less than 5g of salt per day), and it’s killing us.
‘Most of the salt that we eat (about 75-80%) is already in the foods that we buy, so the onus really is on the food industry to remove the unnecessary amounts of salt that they add to our food, to better enable us to make healthy choices.’ Says Clare Farrand, International Programme Lead at World Action on Salt and Health.
WASH works with food manufacturers worldwide to reduce the salt contents of processed foods. Many countries around the world have now set salt targets that the food industry is working towards, however we are still a long way off reaching our target.
‘In the meantime we can all work to reduce our salt intake by simply ditching the salt shaker and using more herbs, spices, and lemon (a personal favourite) and checking the food label and switch to a lower salt alternative. In fact, there is an app for that’ she says.
FoodSwitch, a smart phone app, currently available in the UK and Australia, is an app which allows you to scan the barcode of a food or drink product, and will then suggest a similar, but healthier alternative. Making it easier than ever to switch to healthier foods. http://www.actiononsalt.org.uk/foodswitch/index.html
To highlight the importance of reducing salt intake to save lives, The Journal of Clinical Hypertension has published a fact sheet produced by the World Hypertension League, the International Society of Hypertension, and supporting organisations which further emphasises the importance of reducing salt intake to reduce blood pressure: ‘High Blood Pressure: Why Prevention and Control Are Urgent and Important—A 2014 Fact Sheet From the World Hypertension League and the International Society of Hypertension’. This fact sheet concisely outlines the evidence for salt reduction, and emphasises the urgent need for global action. For more information visit the JCH website :http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1111/(ISSN)1751-7176
“Salt reduction is the single most cost effective public health strategy there is; it is absolutely vital that everyone joins in the battle to reduce the global burden of non-communicable diseases (heart disease, heart attacks and strokes)”, says Professor Graham MacGregor, Chairman of World Action on Salt and Health. “We support all efforts to reduce salt intake, and save the maximum number of lives. The UK has already reduced salt intake by 15% since the launch of its salt reduction programme, and is continuing to do so. So far this has led to a fall in population level blood pressure, saving approximately 18,000 stroke and heart attack events a year, 9,000 of which would have been fatal,” he says.
World Heart Day aims to ensure that people are able to make heart-healthy choices wherever they live, work and play and to encourage us all to reduce our cardiovascular risk, and promote a heart-healthy planet for those around us.
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