Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Salt Levels Key to Reducing Diseases Like Diabetes

Salt Levels Key to Reducing Diseases Like Diabetes

Reducing tobacco and salt use could be one of the answers to preventing many deaths that result from non-communicable diseases like heart disease, stroke and diabates, a new study shows.

According to health experts, NCDs are diseases that cannot directly be passed on from person to person, yet they cause severe adverse effects on people’s lives including death. These diseases are acquired over a period of time and the key risk factors are physical inactivity like exercise, inappropriate diet that is usually rich in fat, salt and sugar and excessive consumption of alcohol.

Some of these other diseases include cancers, and chronic respiratory infections. The study published in the medical journal, the Lancet says the top priority must now be on reducing tobacco use and lowering salt intake.

According to the authors, by 2025, salt intake per person should reduce to less than 5g per person, arguing that reducing salt consumption by just 15 per cent through aggressive campaigns would prevent an estimated 8.5 million deaths over a 10-year period.

Reduce tobacco
Reducing tobacco use, they argue, should be done through the already existing Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

“Achieving this goal would prevent at least 5.5 million premature deaths over 10 years,”the survey shows.
According to the authors, NCDs are becoming a huge public health threat with two out of every three deaths worldwide.

“Reducing tobacco and salt use, improving diets and physical activity, reducing hazardous alcohol intake and achieving universal access to essential drugs and technologies have been chosen for their health effects, cost-effectiveness, low costs of implementation and political and financial feasibility,” the study shows.

The results of the survey come ahead of a September UN high level meeting called to tackle NCDs. “The most important outcome of the UN high level meeting on NCDs will be sustained and strong high-level political support for a framework of specific commitments to tackle the NCD crisis as part of a costed national health plan,” the study said.

“The aim is to reduce NCD death rates by 2 per cent per year which will avert an estimated 36 million deaths over 10 years,” they added.

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