If we are to meet a sodium reduction target by 2025, New Zealanders will have to reduce the salt in their food by at least 30 percent, according to new research.
University of Auckland researcher Dr Helen Eyles, from the National Institute for Health Innovation, said meeting international targets for sodium would need considerable effort from food manufacturers and consumers, and potentially a Government-led strategy.
Eyles and colleagues from the University of Auckland and the University of Sydney modelled necessary reductions to meet the World Health Organization’s voluntary target of 5 grams per day of dietary sodium. Their findings, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, suggested sodium content in packaged foods would need to be reduced by 36 percent and foods consumed away from the home would need a 40 percent reduction in sodium.
Health Minister Dr Jonathan Coleman told stuff.co.nz that the Government had not considered a forced reduction. “It’s not something we’re actively considering,” he said. “But there’s been lots of public messaging over a long time that lower salt diets are better for people’s health.”
New Zealand has committed to the lower sodium target as part of the World Health Organization’s nine voluntary targets which aim to reduce the incidence of diseases such as heart disease, stroke and cancer.
Several media outlets covered the findings:
Stuff.co.nz: Compulsory salt reduction targets could be on the horizon
New Zealand Herald: New Zealand must eat 30 per cent less salt
TVNZ: NZ must eat a third less salt, new research says