Treating high blood pressure, cutting down on salt and getting rid of trans fats could prevent nearly 100 million premature deaths globally, a new study reveals.
Targeting these three interventions could have a massive effect on mortality around the world, the authors claim.
Researchers estimated that treating 70 per cent of the population for blood pressure would save 39.4 million people and reducing salt intake by 30 per cent would account for another 40 million.
Eliminating trans fats, found in margarine and food fried in vegetable fats, could save another 14.8 million by 2040 – a total of 94.2 million lives.
And experts from the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health thinks these three steps are achievable over the next quarter century.
Lead author Goodarz Danaei, associate professor of global health at Harvard Chan School said: “Although scaling up the three interventions globally presents a major challenge, they are both achievable and affordable.
“A worldwide effort to lower people’s blood pressure, cut their sodium intake, and eliminate trans fat from their diet could dramatically reduce the incidence of premature death from cardiovascular disease (CVD) over a quarter century.
“Focusing our resources on the combination of these three interventions can have a huge potential impact on cardiovascular health through to 2040.
“Scaling up the three interventions would be a huge challenge and require countries to commit additional resources to boost health care capacity and quality.
“However previous analyses have shown that the interventions are achievable and affordable.”
The study published in the journal Circulation used global data from multiple studies and estimates from the World Health Organisation.
More than half of all delayed deaths, and two-thirds of deaths delayed before age 70, will be among men, who have the highest numbers of noncommunicable disease deaths globally.
Regions expected to benefit most from the interventions include East Asia, the Pacific, and South Asia, as well as countries in sub-Saharan Africa.
At the forefront of the plan would be to increase the use of blood pressure medications, many of which are safe and affordable.
Prof Danaei added: “These are realistic goals that have been shown to be attainable on smaller scales. We need the commitment to scale up the programs to achieve them globally.”