TUESDAY, Jan. 10, 2023 (HealthDay News) — Implementation of the World Health Organization sodium benchmarks for packaged foods in Australia could prevent about 1,770 deaths/year, according to a study published online Jan. 10 in Hypertension.

Kathy Trieu, Ph.D., M.P.H., from the George Institute for Global Health at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, and colleagues used nationally representative data to estimate sodium intake before and after implementation of the WHO and Australia’s sodium benchmarks for 24 age-sex groups. Based on reductions in sodium intake, potential deaths, incidence, and disability-adjusted life years averted from cardiovascular disease, chronic kidney disease, and stomach cancer were estimated.

The researchers found that adult sodium intake could be lowered by 404 mg/day, corresponding to a 12 percent reduction, with compliance with the WHO sodium benchmarks for packaged foods in Australia. This could prevent about 1,770 deaths per year in Australia, representing 3 percent of all cardiovascular disease, chronic kidney disease, and stomach cancer deaths and could prevent about 6,900 new cases and 25,700 disability-adjusted life years/year. The WHO benchmarks could prevent about 3.5 times more deaths each year compared with Australian targets (1,770 versus 510).

“Substantially greater public health gains could be achieved if Australia adopted the WHO global sodium benchmarks with a much more meaningful contribution towards Australia’s commitment of reducing population sodium intake by 30 percent by 2025,” the authors write.

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