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Health ministers to curb salty Canadian diet

Salt shaker

J.P. Moczulski/J.P. Moczulski/The Globe and Mail

Health officials from across Canada say Canadians are eating too much salt.

Federal, provincial and territorial health ministers, who are meeting in Newfoundland this week, will agree that the recommended daily intake of sodium should be cut to 2,300 milligrams from 3,400 mg, sources said Tuesday.

That amounts to about a teaspoon of salt per day and was the recommendation emanating in July from a federal task force.

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Most of the sodium consumed by Canadians comes in the form of processed food. But any cuts to sodium used by manufacturers are expected to be voluntary.

The ministers will also agree on a framework for tackling the growing problem of childhood obesity, sources said.

Despite the wide-ranging health concerns of Canadians, it was a controversial treatment for multiple sclerosis that dominated the news emanating from the first day of the talks between the provinces and territories.

Federal Heath Minister Leona Aglukkaq joins the table Tuesday and the emphasis is expected to shift to matters like sodium. Ms. Aglukkaq, is however, expected to offer her opinion on Newfoundland's plan to conduct observational studies of liberation therapy.

But the issue of salt is expected to dominate a significant chunk of the discussion at the closed-door meeting.

Salt intake is blamed for a major proportion of cardiovascular illness and reducing sodium in the diet could trim billions of dollars from the health-care system.

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About the Author
Parliamentary reporter

Gloria Galloway has been a journalist for almost 30 years. She worked at the Windsor Star, the Hamilton Spectator, the National Post, the Canadian Press and a number of small newspapers before being hired by The Globe and Mail as deputy national editor in 2001. Gloria returned to reporting two years later and joined the Ottawa bureau in 2004. More

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