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NUTRITION

Aussie men’s salt intake twice recommended max daily limit, says study
Saturday, 03 February, 2018, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Australian men are ingesting almost twice the recommended maximum daily intake of salt, with women not far behind. These were the findings of a systematic review and meta-analysis published online by the Medical Journal of Australia.

Led by Professor Bruce Neal, senior director, food policy division, George Institute for Global Health, the authors analysed 31 published studies and one unpublished dataset, including a total of 16,836 participants over 26 years (1989–2015).

They found that measuring the salt intake with methods based on the self report substantially underestimated consumption. “The gold standard for measurement of salt intake — 24-hour urine collections — provided the best estimate,” the authors added.

“After adjusting for non-urinary salt excretion, the best estimate of salt intake in Australia is 9.6 g/day,” they stated, adding, “The mean weighted intake is 10.1g/day (95 per cent CI, 9.68–10.5g/day) for men and 7.34g/day (95 per cent CI, 6.98–7.70g/day) for women.”

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommended a maximum salt intake of 5g/day, and all WHO member states, including Australia, have agreed to reducing the mean population salt intake by 30 per cent by 2025.

“Strong and consistent evidence indicates that a high dietary salt intake increases blood pressure, which, in turn, increases the risk of cardiovascular disease,” the authors stated.

“Despite a steady improvement in mortality rates over the past three decades, cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of death in Australia,” they added.

“Reducing the population’s salt intake is projected to be one of the most cost-effective strategies to reduce the  rates of premature death and disability attributable to high blood pressure and vascular disease,” the authors stated.

They added, “The problem is that despite a number of programmes for reducing salt intake being implemented in Australia, there has been no robust assessment of national intake levels that would permit the success or failure of these programmes to be quantified.”

“Our results also highlight the need for systematic, standardised and repeated assessments of a national sample of the population in order to determine whether salt reduction programmes are achieving the target of a 30 per cent reduction in intake by 2025,” the authors stated.
 
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