UK charity calls for salt tax to reduce heart disease

LONDON, June 21 (Xinhua) -- The British Heart Foundation (BHF), the country's leading heart charity, said that reducing daily salt intake could save lives and called on Tuesday for a levy on salt, mirroring a current tax on sugar.

According to a new analysis commissioned by the BHF, reducing the average daily salt intake to within international guidelines could result in 135,000 fewer new cases of coronary heart disease in the United Kingdom (UK) by 2035. It could also result in 1.4 million fewer people living with high blood pressure in 2035.

The average salt intake among working-age adults in the UK is currently 8.4 grams a day, well above the guideline of maximum daily intake of 6 grams, the BHF said.

The foundation urged the government to consider a mandatory measure, such as a salt levy, which would drive manufacturers to reduce salt content, adding that recent progress towards voluntary targets has stalled.

The charity said that if food manufacturers reduced salt in their products, lives would be saved in the years to come.

"This isn't just about us all thinking twice before reaching for the salt shaker - the vast majority of salt in our food is already there before we buy it," Tracy Parker, senior dietitian at the BHF, said. "This means we may end up consuming far higher levels of salt than we realize, putting us at greater risk of developing high blood pressure and as a result heart attacks and strokes."

In April 2018, the UK government introduced a Soft Drinks Industry Levy, known as the Sugar Tax, which has led to the radical reduction of the amount of sugar in soft drinks.

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