Tags: forced | salt curbs | boosts | heart health | salt in processed foods | lower levels of salt in processed foods | processed foods and salt

Forced Salt Curbs Boosts Heart Health

Wednesday, 03 Nov 2010 08:00 AM

Regulations forcing food manufacturers to use lower levels of salt would, in theory, be far more effective for health than voluntary initiatives or dietary advice for consumers, according to new research.

High-salt diets have long been blamed for causing high blood pressure, a potential precursor for heart attacks or stroke.

Investigators in Australia looked at the country's "Tick" program, under which food manufacturers can use a health-promotion logo on packaging if they volunteer to reduce the product's salt content to safer levels.

The team then calculated the impact on public health if the "Tick" limits were made mandatory.

They also looked at studies into the usefulness of programs that offer salt advice to the general public and to those at high cardiovascular risk.

The team took into consideration the salt content of bread, margarine, and cereals; the amount of product sold; the average consumption per head of those products; and the costs of drafting and enforcing legislation.

The "Tick" program scored high, reducing ill-health by cardiovascular disease across the Australian population by almost 1 percent — more than twice as much as dietary advice — and at a high cost-effectiveness.

But when measured in terms of the benefits on health, mandatory limits that will help to keep salt intake below the recommended daily maximum of 6 grams per day, could be far more effective, the authors suggested.
Regulations on salt would reduce cardiovascular disease by 18 percent.

"If corporate responsibility fails, maybe there is an ethical justification for government to step in and legislate," say the authors, led by Linda Cobiac of the School of Population Health at the University of Queensland.

Laws on food content are common in many countries, such as requiring manufacturers to add iodine to salt and folic acid in cereals.

Cardiovascular disease is the biggest cause of mortality in the world, the study said.

It claimed more than 17 million lives in 2004, a toll that could rise to more than 23 million by 2030.

The study appears in Heart, published by the British Medical Association (BMA).


Copyright AFP

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Regulations forcing food manufacturers to use lower levels of salt would, in theory, be far more effective for health than voluntary initiatives or dietary advice for consumers, according to new research.
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2010-00-03
Wednesday, 03 Nov 2010 08:00 AM
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