Prevention Green Paper Released - Advancing our health: prevention in the 2020s
23 July 2019
The long-awaited prevention green paper - Advancing our health: prevention in the 2020s - was released last night, three months after it's intended release date. We are pleased to see salt included in the consultation document, but we have concerns over how robust the salt reduction plan will be - voluntary approaches fail if they are not strictly enforced.
On salt, the paper states:
Our ambition is to reduce the population’s salt intakes to 7g per day. To achieve this, we will publish revised salt reduction targets in 2020 for industry to achieve by mid-2023 and we will report on industry’s progress in 2024. Influencing consumer behaviour through marketing and providing advice, including within the NHS, will also help. We will keep all options open if a voluntary approach does not demonstrate enough progress by 2024. We will commission a urinary sodium survey in 2023 to measure progress towards the ambition and understand how much salt individuals are consuming.
Graham MacGregor, Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine and Chair of Action on Salt, issued the following response:
"While we are pleased to finally see new salt reduction actions in the prevention green paper, we have concerns over the robustness of these proposed plans which suggest that monitoring reports will not be released until 2024, four years following implementation of the new salt reduction targets. Research released last week exposed the disastrous lack of monitoring under the Public Health Responsibility Deal which stagnated progress on salt reduction, leading to thousands of preventable cases of stroke, heart failure and heart disease. If the new Prime Minister wants to show that he really is a strong negotiator and able to stand up to bullies, then he needs to be able to stand up to the U.K.’s food industry who have continuously put their profits over the health of those less well off in our society.
"It’s imperative the Secretary of State for Health introduces robust and independent target setting, monitoring and enforcement as public health has suffered enough."
Regardless, we look forward to working with Public Health England to set the targets immediately and put them straight into action.