Heart and Stroke Foundation: Health Ministers Need to Support Action on Sodium Reduction

OTTAWA, Nov. 26, 2011 /CNW/ - The Heart and Stroke Foundation strongly encourages the federal government to release sodium reduction targets in Canada as soon as possible.

"The Foundation was disappointed that sodium reduction targets for Canada were not announced during yesterday's meeting of federal, provincial, and territorial health ministers," says Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada president Bobbe Wood. "The longer Canada delays measures to reduce dietary sodium, the greater the risk to Canadians."

The Foundation urges the federal government to establish voluntary industry sodium reduction targets for packaged foods and an accompanying monitoring mechanism as soon as possible.

In 2010 the federal, provincial and territorial ministers of health called for the adoption of the interim goal of reducing the sodium intake of Canadians to 2,300 milligrams per day by 2016, and the implementation of voluntary industry targets and monitoring for sodium reduction.

Estimates are that almost one in three Canadians with high blood pressure would have normal blood pressure if there was less salt in our food. In fact, if Canadians reduced their salt intake by about ¾ tsp a day, we could prevent approximately one in seven deaths from stroke and one in 11 from coronary heart disease − resulting in a total of direct and indirect health care savings of $2.99 billion per year.

"The large majority of salt we consume is found in processed foods and it's harming our health," says Wood. "Reducing salt would be one of the most cost-effective interventions to improve health in Canada."

The Foundation also recommends that the health ministers act on obesity and looks forward to partnering with the government in ending the growing obesity epidemic.

The Heart and Stroke Foundation, a volunteer-based health charity, leads in eliminating heart disease and stroke and reducing their impact through the advancement of research and its application, the promotion of healthy living, and advocacy. (heartandstroke.ca)

SOURCE HEART AND STROKE FOUNDATION OF CANADA

For further information:

Media inquiries:
Eileen Melnick McCarthy
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
613-569-4361, ext 318
emelnick@hsf.ca

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