A government-supported salt reduction program could save 6 million people per year

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In Massachusetts, a new global study projects that a government-supported policy to reduce salt consumption would be highly cost-effective across the world. Based on costs and a 10 percent reduction in salt over 10 years, such a program would save nearly 6 million life-years currently lost to cardiovascular disease each year, at an average cost of $204 per life-year saved.

The investigators developed a statistical model for 183 countries using data from 2010 to analyze sodium intake, blood pressure levels, the effects of sodium on blood pressure, the effects of blood pressure on cardiovascular disease, and cardiovascular disease rates. These were combined with costs of the sodium reduction program using the World Health Organization’s Costing Tool on noncommunicable diseases.

The overall intervention effectiveness was based on recent United Kingdom and Turkey efforts that showed such a government-supported program can reduce salt consumption by at least 10 percent over 10 years.