UK government pressed to make salt reduction targets on food companies mandatory –

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Action on Salt has published studies which it says provide new and strong evidence to support salt reduction as a key public health strategy to lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of strokes and heart disease in the UK and worldwide.

On the back of the studies, the campaign group wants the new voluntary salt reduction targets currently under consultation by Public Health England, which it plans to publish later this year, to be made mandatory.

The analysis included 133 randomised trials with 12,197 individuals looking at the effect of salt reduction on blood pressure and showed that salt reduction lowered blood pressure across the whole population, including those with blood pressure within normal ranges. Furthermore, the greater the reduction in salt intake, the greater the fall in blood pressure.

This study, according to the authors, also showed that people who are older, have higher blood pressure, or of black ethnicity, had an even bigger fall in blood pressure for a given reduction in salt intake, with longer term reductions likely to have a greater effect.

Action on Salt claim these findings are important as they indicate that population-wide reduction in salt intake should lower population blood pressure which in itself will cause a large reduction in strokes and heart disease and, at the same time, it is likely to prevent people from developing high blood pressure as they get older.

A second review by researchers at the Wolfson Institute, Queen Mary University of London and Action on Salt and recently published in the JACC (Journal of the American College of Cardiology) (18 Feb 2020) entitled ‘Salt Reduction to Prevent Hypertension and Cardiovascular Disease: JACC State-of-the-Art Review’ looked at almost 200 published studies. This found that a high salt intake is the major cause of raised blood pressure, which in itself is the leading cause of strokes and heart disease, the biggest causes of death and disability in the UK. Too much salt is also closely linked to osteoporosis, stomach cancer, and kidney disease.   

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