SYDNEY, Jan. 29 (Xinhua) -- Australian men on average are eating twice the amount of salt considered safe by the World Health Organization, with their female counterparts not far behind, according to latest research.
The men are taking about 10.1 grams of salt a day and the women are taking 7.34 grams, against the recommended maximum salt intake of 5 grams a day, according to the findings of a study led by Professor Bruce Neal, senior director of the Food Policy Division of the Australia-based George Institute for Global Health, and released on Monday.
"Strong and consistent evidence indicates that a high dietary salt intake increases blood pressure, which in turn increases the risk of cardiovascular disease," the researchers wrote in their report, which was published online by the Medical Journal of Australia. They analyzed more than 500 studies and material covering more than 16,5000 participants between 1989 and 2015.
"Despite a steady improvement in mortality rates over the past three decades, cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of death in Australia ... reducing population salt intake is projected to be one of the most cost-effective strategies for reducing rates of premature death and disability attributable to high blood pressure and vascular disease," they said.
Despite a number of programs for reducing salt intake in Australia, "there has been no robust assessment of national intake levels that would permit the success or failure of these programs to be quantified."
Their results highlighted the need for "systematic, standardized and repeated assessments of a national sample of the population in order to determine whether salt reduction programs are achieving the target of a 500 percent reduction in intake by 2025."
Between 2014 and 2015, close to 6 million Australians aged 18 years and over had high blood pressure, according to health surveys by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. In 2015, more than 45,500 deaths in the country were attributed to cardiovascular disease, with one Australian dying as a result of the condition every 12 minutes, bureau figures showed.