Our 16th National Salt Awareness Week was held on 16th - 22nd March 2015, highlighting the importance of giving children a low salt diet early in life.
Like adults, children consume more salt than the maximum recommendation. Simple measures need to be taken to help reduce their salt intake and therefore reduce the number of people suffering from cardiovascular disease.
Children are considered a vulnerable group in society often with little influence on or involvement in what they eat. Evidence suggests that dietary habits in childhood and adolescence also influence eating patterns in later life. Liking salt and salty foods is a learned taste preference and so it is vital that children do not develop a taste for salt in the first place. A high salt intake in children can influence blood pressure and may predispose a child to the development of a number of diseases including: high blood pressure, osteoporosis, stomach cancer and obesity. Unfortunately reducing ones salt intake isn't as easy as it should be, with a lot of salt hidden amongst the foods we buy. This is shown in our children's survey, which found 1 in 4 meals to contain 2g or more of salt per dish, the maximum daily recommended salt intake for a 1-3 year old! More information about our survey can be found here.
Salt Awareness Week 2015 was focused on ensuring that everyone understands the importance of a healthy start for children. As part of the week we encouraged the food industry to act more responsibly by reducing the amount of salt they add to children's food and stop advertising high salt food to children.
We developed some useful resources for schools, hospitals and parents looking to reduce salt in their families diets. These included CASH Salt Health A5 6pp 2015 [PDF 2,794KB], posters [PDF 1,349KB] and CASH Kids' placemat A3_HR FINAL [PDF 2,033KB] for your children. Over 400 local events were held during the week, using our resources to drive the message of low salt across. Materials are still free to download or order online.
On Wednesday 18th March CASH hosted a reception at the House of Commons attended by over 100 peers, MPs, NGOs and members of the food industry, with speeches from TV Chef Cyrus Todiwala and Patricia Mucavele, Chief Nutritionist of the Children's Food Trust.