Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Health and economic benefits of a US salt reduction strategy

Excess salt consumption is associated with higher risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and gastric cancer. Globally, more than 1.5 million CVD related deaths every year can be attributed to the excess dietary salt intake.

Further salt-related deaths come from gastric cancer. Health policies worldwide, therefore, are being proposed to reduce dietary salt intake.

Health and economic impact

The US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has proposed voluntary sodium reduction goals targeting processed and commercially prepared foods. The researchers aimed to quantify the potential health and economic impact if this FDA policy was successfully implemented. The results will be of great interest to policy makers.

Researchers modelled and compared the potential health and economic effects of three differing levels of implementing the FDA's proposed voluntary sodium reformulation policy over a 20-year period.  They found that the optimal scenario, 100% compliance with the 10-year FDA targets, could prevent approximately 450,000 CVD cases, gain 2 million Quality Adjusted Life Years (QALYs) and produce discounted cost savings of approximately $40 billion over a 20 year period (2017-2016).  In contrast, the modest scenario, 50% compliance of the 10-year FDA targets, and the pessimistic scenario, 100% compliance of the two-year targets but no further progress, could yield health and economic gains approximately half as great, and a quarter as great, respectively.  All three scenarios were likely to be cost-effective by 2021 and cost-saving by 2031.

The full study, entitled 'Estimating the health and economic effects of the proposed US FDA voluntary sodium reformulation: Microsimulation cost-effectiveness analysis', can be found here once the embargo has lifted https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.100255

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