CASH comment on BMJ article - Long term effects of dietary sodium reduction on cardiovascular disease outcomes: observational follow-up of the trials of hypertension prevention (TOHP)

20th April

Professor Graham MacGregor - Chairman of Consensus Action on Salt and Health (CASH), commented on this study, published in the British Medical Journal today (1). This new research shows that people who cut back on the amount of salt in their diet by about a third reduce their risk of developing a heart attack or a stroke by 25%.

“This is a very important study because for the first time it shows that reducing salt intake does reduce the number of people suffering and dying from strokes and heart attacks, the biggest causes of death and disability in the UK” said Professor MacGregor. “Previous studies have predicted that reducing salt intake by 6 g/day will reduce the number of heart attack and strokes by approximately 70,000 events (35,000 deaths) a year in the UK alone (2), and this new research confirms these results.”

“Cutting salt is a simple way for people to reduce their risk of having a heart attack or a stroke. As eighty percent of our salt intake comes from salt already added by the food industry this research provides compelling evidence for why the food industry should lower the salt content of their products. If they do this they can help prevent thousands of unnecessary heart attacks and strokes from happening. With the accumulating evidence now available to us, and the fact that the majority of a person’s salt intake comes from processed foods, every manufacturer now needs to act immediately to reduce the salt added to their foods.”

References:
(1) Nancy R Cook, et al. Long term effects of dietary sodium reduction on cardiovascular disease outcomes: observational follow-up of the trials of hypertension prevention (TOHP). British Medical Journal 2007; BMJ Online First.
(2) Feng J He & Graham A MacGregor. How far should salt intake be reduced? Hypertension. 2003;42: 1093-1099.