WHO urges cutting salt from food

Associated Press of Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: Cardiovascular disease is a growing problem in developing nations and it accounts for much sickness and death in developed countries.

Government actions to cut salt in processed foods, as well as other measures to lower blood pressure and cholesterol, could cut the global rate of cardiovascular disease by up to 50%, according to UN health officials, Health News reported. Researchers with the World Health Organization (WHO) estimate that public-education campaigns and legislation to lower the salt content of processed foods, along with individuals’ own efforts to cut their blood pressure and cholesterol, could help prevent heart disease and stroke in all regions of the world.

The team evaluated the cost-effectiveness of 17 measures aimed at preventing cardiovascular disease worldwide. They aimed at controlling people’s blood pressure and cholesterol levels, as high blood pressure and high cholesterol are major risk factors for heart attack and stroke.

Other measures included media messages about the importance of blood pressure, cholesterol counts and body weight in cardiovascular disease and either government or voluntary action to reduce salt in processed foods. High sodium intake as salt is a risk factor for high blood pressure. They found that the population-wide efforts, including moves to cut salt from the food supply, were potentially ‘very’ cost- effective with government action to reduce salt looking more effective than voluntary efforts.

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