Our 20th Salt Awareness Week will take place 4th - 10th March 2019!
It's time for ACTION on salt.
- The Department of Health estimates that if we could reduce our average salt intake from 8g per day to 6g per day, we could prevent more than 8,000 premature deaths (i.e. deaths before the age of 70) from heart attacks and stroke
- The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence estimates that every 1g salt reduction could save our over-burdened NHS £1.5 billion in healthcare costs
Many people now know that eating too much salt is bad for their health and are actively looking to cut down. However, 75% of the salt we eat comes from salt added to food by the food industry – we might want to #EatLessSalt but we need some help to do so!
That help needs to come from the government and the food industry. The UK's once world-leading salt reduction programme, led by the Food Standards Agency (FSA), involved setting voluntary targets for salt levels in more than 80 categories of food that the food industry could work towards. The FSA monitored progress, made results public and named-and-shamed those companies that weren’t making progress. They also ran successful public awareness campaigns to let the public know of the dangers of salt to our health – who remembers Sid the Slug?
By providing guidance to the food industry, while transparently monitoring their progress, the FSA’s programme led to a 20-50% reduction in the salt content of many products between 2003 and 2011. The amount of salt the UK ate each day fell from an average level of 9.5g to 8g, a huge 15% reduction. Average blood pressure also fell, in addition to a fall in the number of deaths from stroke and heart disease. In 2011, salt reduction was moved to the Department of Health and, more recently in 2016, was moved again to Public Health England. Since then we've seen very little progress on salt reduction.
It is unacceptable that the UK population is burdened with unnecessary deaths. It is unacceptable that the next generation face a future of preventable health conditions. It's time for ACTION.
- ACTION The government must prioritise the health of the nation and commit to a strong salt reduction policy
- ACTION The food industry must commit to further salt reduction work, but with guidance from policy makers
- ACTION The public must make their voice heard! Write to food companies to ask for less salt in food, write to your MP to ask for a more ACTION on salt, share your personal salt reduction strategy on social media, encourage friends and family members to add less salt to food and to choose the lower salt option
Follow us on social media @actiononsalt for further updates