London: Lowering dietary salt intake has the potential to save millions of lives globally by substantially reducing levels of heart disease and stroke, according to research at the Warwick Medical School.
The research by Professor Francesco Cappuccio of the school has been published in this week`s British Medical Journal, a University of Warwick release said.
It shows that in the UK, a reduction of 3g salt intake per day would prevent up to 8,000 stroke deaths and up to 12,000 coronary heart disease deaths per year, a University of
Warwick relase said.
A similar reduction in the USA would result in up to 120,000 fewer cases of coronary heart disease, up to 66,000 strokes and up to 99,000 heart attacks annually.
It would also save up to 24 billion dollars annually in health care costs.
The World Health Organisation has set a goal to reduce dietary salt intake to less than 5g (about one teaspoon) per person per day by 2025, but salt intake in many countries is
currently much higher than this.
Professor Cappuccio and his co-authors say that changing personal behaviour and choice alone is not an effective or realistic option when the majority of salt is added to food
before it is sold and the commercial addition of salt to food is becoming a global trend.
"The huge responsibility of food manufacturers in contributing to the epidemic of cardiovascular disease must be acknowledged," Professor Cappuccio said.
"Prevention implemented through food reformulation and effective voluntary, market intervention or mandatory action throughout the industry is what needs to happen with society, governments, academia and health organisations all needing to play a part," he added.
However, denial and procrastination will be costly in terms of both avoidable illness and expenses," Cappuccio said.