1887

n South African Medical Journal - Reducing the sodium content of high-salt foods : effect on cardiovascular disease in South Africa : research

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Abstract

Average salt intake in South African (SA) adults, 8.1 g/day, is higher than the 4 - 6 g/day recommended by the World Health Organization. Much salt consumption arises from non-discretionary intake (the highest proportion from bread, with contributions from margarine, soup mixes and gravies). This contributes to an increasing burden of hypertension and cardiovascular disease (CVD).


To provide SA-specific information on the number of fatal CVD events (stroke, ischaemic heart disease and hypertensive heart disease) and non-fatal strokes that would be prevented each year following a reduction in the sodium content of bread, soup mix, seasoning and margarine.
Based on the potential sodium reduction in selected products, we calculated the expected change in population-level systolic blood pressure (SBP) and mortality due to CVD and stroke.
Proposed reductions would decrease the average salt intake by 0.85 g/person/day. This would result in 7 400 fewer CVD deaths and 4 300 less non-fatal strokes per year compared with 2008. Cost savings of up to R300 million would also occur.
Population-wide strategies have great potential to achieve public health gains as they do not rely on individual behaviour or a well-functioning health system. This is the first study to show the potential effect of a salt reduction policy on health in SA.

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/content/m_samj/102/9/EJC125464
2012-09-01
2016-12-07
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