CASH wins prestigious Caroline Walker Award

13th November 2003

Consensus Action on Salt and Health's eight-year campaign to reduce the amount of salt in the UK diet has been honoured with a Caroline Walker Award.

The Award, presented by the Caroline Walker Trust at its Annual Lecture and Awards Ceremony on 6th November at the Royal Society in London, is in recognition of CASH's long campaign for a public health approach to salt in food, advocating that changes can best be achieved at the processing stage as opposed to at the table.

Announcing the Award winner, Dr Martin Caraher, trustee and chairperson of the judges, praised the CASH campaign for focusing on manufacturers and retailers, rather than allowing the responsibility for salt in food to be pushed down to individual consumers.

Professor Graham MacGregor, Chairman of CASH, said: 'We are delighted to have won this award. CASH has campaigned long and hard to raise awareness of the fact that around 80% of the UK's salt intake comes from processed food and that it is this 'hidden salt' that must be reduced. We in the UK eat too much salt and too many people die from strokes and heart attacks as a result. If the food industry made a reduction of 10-20% in all foods to which salt is added, around 6,000 lives a year would be saved. If we could get down to the recommended maximum intake of 6g of salt per day per adult, then we would save 35,000 lives each year.'

Penelope Gilbert, Nutritionist for CASH said 'It is fantastic to receive such a prestigious nutrition award. We are grateful for the recognition received from all our nutrition peers. CASH will continue its work to see the salt intake of the UK population reduced.'

-ends-

Notes to Editors:

  • The Consensus Action on Salt and Health (CASH) is a group of medical specialists who are the UK's leading experts on the effects of salt on health. Over the last eight years, CASH has been working to reduce the amount of salt in the UK diet. Excess salt in our diet is the major cause of high blood pressure, which leads to strokes, heart attacks and heart failure- the UK's greatest killers. Salt is also related to cancer of the stomach, osteoporosis, kidney disease, asthma and fluid retention.
  • The Caroline Walker Trust was founded in 1988 after the death of the distinguished nutritionist, writer and campaigner, Caroline Walker. Its Awards recognise the work of those who have sought to improve public health through good food.
  • The Government's Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) published guidelines in May 2003 calling for adults to eat no more than 6g of salt per day (current intake is around 10-12g per day), and for children much less- dependent upon age. (www.sacn.gov.uk)
  • Around 80% of our salt intake now comes from salt hidden in food, e.g. processed food, canteen meals, fast food and restaurant food.
    N.B. - just under one third of our salt intake comes from salt added to bread and cereals.
  • Already over 30% of the adult population in the UK has high blood pressure, and the proportion rapidly increases with age, i.e. 50% at 50 years, 70% at 70 years. Blood pressure is a major cause of strokes, heart failure and heart attacks.
  • Research has shown that 70,000 strokes and heart attacks (over half of which- i.e. 35,000-are fatal) would be prevented if the average salt intake were reduced from the current 10 to 12 grams per day to the recommended 6g per day.
  • For healthy eating, to prevent strokes, heart attacks and cancer for both children and adults the message is clear:
    • Reduce salt intake in adults to less than 6 grams per day and much smaller amounts in children, depending on age.
    • Eat more fresh fruit and vegetables, at least five portions a day.
    • Eat less fat, particularly saturated fat.
    • Eat less sugar