One gram of salt is the difference to millions of heart attacks – ScienceAlert

We know that consuming too much salt raises blood pressure, which in turn can lead to cardiovascular problems. A new study has now defined this relationship as a public health message in clear and stark terms.

Looking at the health data for adults in China, the study authors estimate that reducing daily salt intake by just 1 gram would be enough to prevent 9 million cases of stroke and heart attack between now and 2030.

With 4 million cases potentially fatal, such a simple measure could save many lives.

In China, the average daily salt consumption is 11 grams, much higher than 5 grams recommended by World Health Organization (Who is the). The researchers collected the latest statistics on population size, salt consumption, blood pressure, and disease rates.

“Previous estimates of the health effect of reducing salt intake in China used outdated or otherwise unreliable data sources and did not take into account the prolonged effect of salt reduction on blood pressure over several years,” the researchers wrote in their report. published paper.

The team looked at two other scenarios besides decreasing one gram: reducing 3.2 grams per day (30 percent lower than average) by 2025, and reducing salt intake to 5 grams per day by 2030.

If these targets are hit, up to twice the number of deaths related to cardiovascular disease could be prevented, due to the estimated reduction in systolic blood pressure.

However, the researchers stress that the reduction must be consistent over several years. Educational programs operate in Chinese schools She points out that most of the population won’t find it too difficult to reach the 1 gram per day goal.

Other trials, on low-sodium, high-potassium salt substitutes, health education for home chefs and interventions in restaurants are underway or recently completed, some of which have already shown promising results. write researchers.

Cardiovascular disease causes 40 percent of deaths in China, with urbanization – and a concomitant increase in the intake of processed foods and ready meals – thought to be one of the main contributors.

While the authors of this study only considered the potential reduction in the incidence of cardiovascular disease, they suggest that reducing salt intake would have multiple other benefits as well. Too much salt for him It has also been linked For certain types of cancers and various kidney problems eg.

The Chinese government released a file Healthy China 2030 A campaign to try to reach its daily salt target of just 5 grams. It won’t be easy with 1.4 billion people, but the numbers produced in this study are compelling.

“There is an urgent need for a salt reduction program that is practical, coherent and sustainable and that targets current and future major food sources of salt in China.” write researchers.

The search was published in Nutrition, prevention and health BMJ.

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