80 percent of survey respondents agree food industry should use less salt, according to new study published in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology
Many Canadians are concerned about dietary sodium and welcome government intervention to reduce sodium intake through a variety of measures, including lowering sodium in food, and education and awareness, according to a national survey. The top barriers to limiting sodium intake are a lack of lower sodium packaged and processed foods and lower sodium restaurant menu options.
"Canadians are supportive of government intervention to lower salt intake," says lead investigator Mary R. L'Abbe, PhD, Professor and Chair of the Department of Nutritional Sciences at University of Toronto, noting that most Canadians eat more than the recommended amount of sodium, increasing their risk of developing high blood pressure and other cardiovascular conditions.
To combat high sodium in Canadian diets, a federal government-appointed multi-stakeholder Sodium Working Group developed, "A Sodium Reduction Strategy for Canada," a formal set of recommendations that focus on the food supply, education and awareness, and research in order to lower the amount of sodium Canadians eat from an average 3,400 mg per day to 2,300 mg per day by 2016. The group also called for voluntary sodium reductions in the food industry coupled with regular monitoring of progress, which may be enforced through regulation should industry fail to reach targets.
To assess Canadians' concern about sodium, actions, and barriers in limiting sodium consumption, researchers from the University of Toronto and University of Guelph conducted an online survey (http://consumermonitor.ca) with a representative sample of the Canadian population in terms of age, sex, province, and education.
In light of the proposed federal Bill C-460 - legislating the group's recommendations - investigators also sought to determine Canadians' level of support for a number of sodium reduction initiatives.