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Nutrients. 2011 Aug;3(8):756-64. doi: 10.3390/nu3080756. Epub 2011 Aug 16.

Canadian initiatives to prevent hypertension by reducing dietary sodium.

Author information

  • 1Department of Medicine, Community Health Sciences, Pharmacology and Therapeutics, and Libin Cardiovascular Institute, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta T2N 4Z6, Canada. ncampbel@ucalgary.ca

Abstract

Hypertension is the leading risk for premature death in the world. High dietary sodium is an important contributor to increased blood pressure and is strongly associated with other important diseases (e.g., gastric cancer, calcium containing kidney stones, osteoporosis, asthma and obesity). The average dietary sodium intake in Canada is approximately 3400 mg/day. It is estimated that 30% of hypertension, more than 10% of cardiovascular events and 1.4 billion dollars/year in health care expenses are caused by this high level of intake in Canada. Since 2006, Canada has had a focused and evolving effort to reduce dietary sodium based on actions from Non Governmental Organizations (NGO), and Federal and Provincial/Territorial Government actions. NGOs initiated Canadian sodium reduction programs by developing a policy statement outlining the health issue and calling for governmental, NGO and industry action, developing and disseminating an extensive health care professional education program including resources for patient education, developing a public awareness campaign through extensive media releases and publications in the lay press. The Federal Government responded by striking a Intersectoral Sodium Work Group to develop recommendations on how to implement Canada's dietary reference intake values for dietary sodium and by developing timelines and targets for foods to be reduced in sodium, assessing key research gaps with funding for targeted dietary sodium based research, developing plans for public education and for conducting evaluation of the program to reduce dietary sodium. While food regulation is a Federal Government responsibility Provincial and Territorial governments indicated reducing dietary sodium needed to be a priority. Federal and Provincial Ministers of Health have endorsed a target to reduce the average consumption of sodium to 2300 mg/day by 2016 and the Deputy Ministers of Health have tasked a joint committee to review the recommendations of the Sodium Work Group and report back to them.

KEYWORDS:

cardiovascular disease, hypertension, nutrition, public health, salt, sodium

PMID:
22254122
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3257699
Free PMC Article
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