Canada's dangerously high salt intake is a serious concern


A new article in the Canadian Medical Association Journal is saying that Canada's dangerously high salt intake is "One of our most urgent public health matters."

80 percent of the sodium in the diet of Canadian's comes from processed food. 30 percent of the high blood pressure cases in adults can be traced to the high sodium diets we consume.

"Although voluntary action by the food industry may be the preferred option to initiate sodium reduction, its absence calls for governments to use their regulatory capacity to bring about change," the article urges.

"I think the government need to increase the pressure on the food industry to voluntarily reduce the sodium they're adding," Willis told Canada AM. "And that needs to be backed up by regulation and legislation to make sure there's an even playing field for all of the companies."

Canada also needs "a massive public education campaign" to inform Canadians on how dietary sodium causes disease and how simple it is to cut our intake. Doctors, too, should be trained in counseling patients about reducing sodium.

Willis would also like to see changes to food labels, so that people can more easily understand which foods are higher in sodium.

While the recommended intake in Canada is set at 1,500 mg a day for people between the ages of nine and 50, the average daily intake in Canada is more than double the recommended level.

If Canadians could cut their sodium intake to the recommended levels, we would decrease the rates of high blood pressure by 30 per cent, cut high blood pressure-related heart attacks and strokes by 8.6 per cent and save about $2 billion annually in health care costs, the analysis says.



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