Health watch

14 December, 2007
Page 6 
With salt levels in bread and bakery products in the UK ever under scrutiny, a new global study claims that efforts to cut down on salt intake will prevent millions of deaths each year. By reducing salt around the world by 15%, the study claimed, this could prevent almost nine million deaths between 2006 and 2015.
The research was conducted on 23 low- and middle-income countries, which together account for 80% of deaths to chronic disease. The analysis was led by Perviz Asaria from Kings Fund London, UK, and published in The Lancet Chronic Diseases Series.According to the study: "This reduction would be achieved by a voluntary reduction in the salt content of processed foods and condiments by manufacturers, plus a sustained mass-media campaign aimed at encouraging dietary change."These studies add to observational evidence that blood pressure increases rapidly with age in populations that have a high average intake of salt, whereas communities in which salt consumption is very low do not have an age-related increase in blood pressure."In the UK, the Food Standards Agency claims that adults should have no more than 6g of salt a day. It estimated that the average intake in the UK is about 9g of salt a day, however. High blood pressure (hypertension), is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease, which causes almost 50% of deaths in Europe. According to the study: "Simple changes in diet ? such as avoiding salty food and not adding salt at the table ? can reduce sodium intake by about 3g to 4.5g per day."

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