Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

BACKGROUND: Dietary salt reduction is included in the top five priority actions for non-communicable disease control internationally. We therefore aimed to identify health gain and cost impacts of achieving a national target for sodium reduction, along with component targets in different food groups. METHODS: We used an established dietary sodium intervention model to study 10 interventions to achieve sodium reduction targets. The 2011 New Zealand (NZ) adult population (2.3 million aged 35+ years) was simulated over the remainder of their lifetime in a Markov model with a 3 % discount rate. RESULTS: Achieving an overall 35 % reduction in dietary salt intake via implementation of mandatory maximum levels of sodium in packaged foods along with reduced sodium from fast foods/restaurant food and discretionary intake (the "full target"), was estimated to gain 235,000 QALYs over the lifetime of the cohort (95 % uncertainty interval [UI]: 176,000 to 298,000). For specific target components the range was from 122,000 QALYs gained (for the packaged foods target) down to the snack foods target (6100 QALYs; and representing a 34-48 % sodium reduction in such products). All ten target interventions studied were cost-saving, with the greatest costs saved for the mandatory "full target" at NZ$1260 million (US$820 million). There were relatively greater health gains per adult for men and for Māori (indigenous population). CONCLUSIONS: This work provides modeling-level evidence that achieving dietary sodium reduction targets (including specific food category targets) could generate large health gains and cost savings for a national health sector. Demographic groups with the highest cardiovascular disease rates stand to gain most, assisting in reducing health inequalities between sex and ethnic groups.

Original publication




Journal article


Nutr J

Publication Date





Cardiovascular disease, Dietary salt, Economic analysis, Sodium, Targets, Adult, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Cost Savings, Diet, Sodium-Restricted, Fast Foods, Female, Food Packaging, Health Care Costs, Humans, Male, Markov Chains, Middle Aged, Models, Theoretical, New Zealand, Nutrition Policy, Quality-Adjusted Life Years, Reproducibility of Results, Restaurants, Snacks, Sodium Chloride, Dietary