SUBSTANTIAL health and economic gains could result from the implementation of the U.S. FDA’s proposed voluntary salt policy, according to an analysis conducted by researchers from the University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK, in collaboration with other institutions. It was found that various levels of uptake with the proposed sodium reduction goals targeting processed and commercially prepared food would lead to a major reduction in cardiovascular disease (CVD)-related deaths.
Excess salt consumption has been linked to over 1.5 million CVD related deaths worldwide as well as to a number of deaths caused by gastric cancer. To understand the possible health and monetary impact of the proposed FDA policy to reduce sodium in food, the team compared what the effects would be in three differing implementation levels over a 20-year period.
They calculated that if there was 100% compliance with the 10-year targets, the optimal scenario, around 450,000 CVD cases would be prevented, 2 million quality adjusted life years (QALYs) would be gained, and there would be $40 billion discounted cost savings. If there was 50% compliance with the 10-year targets, the modest scenario, the health and economic benefits would be half as great, and finally, 100% compliance with the 2-year targets, but no further progress would lead to a quarter of the gains of the optimal scenario.
The findings should provide further evidence to health policy makers of the benefits that salt reduction strategies would have, both in the USA and around the world, and could lead to the development of new policies. Dr Jonathan Pearson-Stuttard, University of Liverpool, commented: “Our study suggests that full industry compliance with the FDA voluntary sodium reformulation targets would result in very substantial decreases in CVD incidence and mortality whilst also offering impressive cost savings to the health payers and the wider economy.”
Role of the Food Industry
The authors also emphasised the crucial role the food industry has to play in voluntarily developing and marketing healthier foods, particularly in the light of this new study.
James Coker, Reporter
For the source and further information about the study, click here.