Back in 2000, a couple of years before England implemented its salt reduction programme, average daily salt intake in the country was 9.38 grams - well above the WHO recommended 5.0. According to new research by Queen Mary University of London, by 2018 the daily average had been reduced by 1.0 gram to 8.38. As this infographic summarises, if this level is maintained up to 2050, almost 200,000 cases of premature cardiovascular disease are projected to be prevented, resulting in healthcare cost savings of up to £1.64 billion.
Better still, if If the WHO recommended salt intake is achieved by 2030, these benefits could more than double, preventing a further 213,880 premature cases and creating further healthcare savings of £5.33 billion. Lead researcher Professor Borislava Mihaylova from Queen Mary University of London said: “Our results are striking because of the large health benefits that we see with an effective government policy of reducing salt in everyday food products."
Mihaylova strikes a tone of caution however, adding: “These gains could be seriously endangered if the policy is weakened. The stalling of salt reduction efforts in the past few years is now eating away at the potential population health gains and is costing our health service dearly. Over the last few years, quantities of salt in diets have remained steady at levels much higher than recommended. If we can reduce our salt intake to the recommended 5g per day, we will double health benefits and healthcare savings by the year 2050.”