Health Canada : Canadians’ sodium consumption levels are high
Sept 3, 2018
Global Korean Post
Health Canada releases report on sodium consumption levels in Canada.
The Government of Canada is concerned that the majority of Canadians are still consuming too much sodium (salt), and is taking steps to help them reduce their intake.
On July 23, 2018 Health Canada released the Sodium Intake of Canadians in 2017 report. The report shows that Canadians consume an average of 2760 milligrams (mg) of sodium each day, which is almost double the recommended daily amount of sodium.
Diets high in sodium can lead to high blood pressure, which is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. Heart disease and stroke are the leading causes of death in Canada, after cancer. Health Canada recommends that most Canadians aim to consume 1500 mg of sodium per day, and, if they go over that amount, to limit their consumption to no more than 2300 mg per day.
However, 58% of all Canadians, and 72% of Canadian children between the ages of 4 and 13 are consuming more than the recommended limits. Males have much higher intakes of sodium than females across all age groups. In fact, almost all males between the ages of 14 and 30 consume more than 2300 mg of sodium daily.
Health Canada’s recent evaluation of the food industry’s efforts to meet voluntary sodium reduction targets, show that voluntary sodium reduction in processed foods accounted for a decrease of 8% in average daily sodium intake between 2010 and 2017. We need to do more to help Canadians reduce their sodium consumption.
The Government of Canada is taking action. In February 2018, Health Canada introduced a regulatory proposal to require a front-of-package symbol on foods high in sodium, sugars and saturated fat. This symbol will help Canadians make healthier food choices and encourage manufacturers to reduce sodium levels in many foods.
As most of the sodium in Canadians’ diets comes from processed foods, reducing sodium in processed and restaurant foods is a priority. To help further reduce sodium intake, Health Canada plans to develop new or revised voluntary sodium reduction targets for both prepackaged and restaurant foods, and to create a monitoring program to evaluate and report on progress.
The report that Health Canada is releasing today supports the need for continued efforts, such as those outlined in the Healthy Eating Strategy, to further reduce sodium consumption and improve health outcomes.