Friday 21 June 2019

Tens of millions of premature deaths could be avoided by cutting out salt and trans fats

Experts say life-saving interventions ‘achievable and affordable’

Cutting down on salt, getting rid of trans fats and treating high blood pressure could prevent almost 100 million premature deaths globally, a new study has revealed.

Harvard researchers estimate that reducing salt intake by 30 per cent would save 40 million people from premature death from cardiovascular disease (CVD).

Eliminating trans fats, found in margarine and vegetable fats used to fry fast food, could save another 14.8 million. Treating 70 per cent of the world’s population for blood pressure would save a further 39.4 million people, according to the experts – a total of 94.2 million lives saved by 2040.

Experts from the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health thinks targeting these crucial areas would make huge improvements in health possible over the next 20 years.

Lead author Goodarz Danaei, associate professor of global health at Harvard Chan School, said: “Although scaling up the three interventions globally presents a major challenge, they are both achievable and affordable.”

Trans fats are found in margarine and vegetable fats ( Rex Features )
Professor Danaei added: “A worldwide effort to lower people’s blood pressure, cut their sodium intake, and eliminate trans fat from their diet could dramatically reduce the incidence of premature death from cardiovascular disease over a quarter century.

“Focusing our resources on the combination of these three interventions can have a huge potential impact on cardiovascular health through to 2040.

“Scaling up the three interventions would be a huge challenge and require countries to commit additional resources to boost health care capacity and quality. However previous analyses have shown that the interventions are achievable and affordable.”

The study published in the journal Circulation used global data from multiple studies and estimates from the World Health Organisation.

At the forefront of the plan would be to increase the use of blood pressure medications, many of which are safe and affordable.

More than half of all delayed deaths, and two-thirds of deaths delayed before age 70, would be among men, who have the highest numbers of non-communicable disease deaths globally.

Regions expected to benefit most from the targeted interventions include East Asia, the Pacific, and South Asia, as well as countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

Professor Danaei added: “These are realistic goals that have been shown to be attainable on smaller scales. We need the commitment to scale up the programmes to achieve them globally.”

(Source: Independent)

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