Excessive salt intake is linked to high blood pressure which can increase the risk of heart attack and other cardiovascular diseases. According to the World Health Organization, daily salt intake should be less than 5 grams to avoid such diseases. Now, a study has found that by reducing salt intake to just 1 gram daily, we could prevent nearly 9 million cases of heart attack and stroke and save 4 million lives by 2030.
China is one of the countries with the highest salt consumption with an average daily intake of 11 grams per day. This amount is twice that of WHO recommended, The researchers analyzed the health data of the Chinese population to arrive at an estimated figure.
crew driven A modeling study and attempted to estimate the health benefits that may be obtained by reducing salt intake among the population of China. Its objective was to develop a salt reduction program in the nation through estimates. The researchers compiled the latest and most reliable data on population size, blood pressure, salt intake and disease rates by region and age. Next, the team took three different approaches to estimate the effect of salt intake on heart health.
The first approach involved a reduction in salt intake by one gram per day, which was to be achieved within a year. The second approach was the WHO’s target to cut salt consumption by 30 percent by 2025. In the third approach, the researchers examined the target set by the Chinese government in its action plan for health and development called Healthy China 2030. This includes daily salt intake. Less than 5 grams by 2030.
The team then examined the number in the systolic blood pressure, or blood pressure reading, that indicates the force at which blood is pumped around the body. With this, they studied the risk of heart attack, stroke and deaths due to cardiovascular diseases.
It was observed that if the Chinese population reduced salt consumption by 1 g per day, the mean systolic blood pressure could be brought down to 1.2 mmHg. Furthermore, if this target is achieved and maintained within a year, it would prevent 9 million cases of heart diseases by 2030, which in turn would save 4 million lives, according to the researchers.
“The Chinese government’s action plan ‘Healthy China 2030’ includes nutritional recommendations to reduce salt, sugar and oil intake. This modeling study shows that a lack of salt alone can cause severe health problems for the entire population of China. There may be benefits,” the researchers said in their study.
The team also highlighted that salt reduction targets must not only be achieved, but must also be sustained over time to reap the benefits. This could pose a challenge, according to the researchers, given the “rapidly changing dietary patterns” and rapid urbanization in China.
test result A paper is published in BMJ Nutrition, Prevention and Health.