SWITZERLAND, Geneva Reducing sodium intake and replacing trans fats with healthier fats are two ways governments may prevent deaths from noncommunicable diseases such as heart and lung diseases, stroke, cancer and diabetes, according to a report released by the World Health Organization (WHO).
While 38 mill. deaths came from noncommunicable diseases in 2012, 16 mill., or 42%, were premature, or came before age 70, according to the WHO.
Following the WHO governments may reduce such premature deaths through policies reducing tobacco use, harmful alcohol use and unhealthy diets along with policies that increase physical activity and deliver universal health care. The body recommends banning all forms of tobacco advertising, replacing trans fats with polyunsaturated fats, restricting or banning alcohol advertising, promoting ways to prevent heart attacks and strokes, promoting breastfeeding, implementing public awareness programs on diet and physical activity, and preventing cervical cancer through screening.
The organisation gave the example of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Canada, Mexico and the USA promoting salt reduction in packaged foods and bread. Argentina has already achieved a 25% reduction in the salt content of bread.
The report provides the baseline for monitoring the implementation of the WHO's "Global action plan for NCDs 2013-2020", which aims to reduce the number of premature deaths from noncommunicable diseases by 25% by 2025. In that report, the organisation provides nine global targets, one of which is a 30% reduction in mean population intake of salt/sodium.
Source: The World Health Organization (WHO)