Consensus Action on Salt and Health

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Useful salt facts

  1. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has recognised that salt reduction is of equal importance to stopping smoking for heart disease and is calling on all countries to implement strategies to achieve a 30% reduction in salt by 2025
  1. Raised blood pressure is the major cause of cardiovascular disease, accounting for 62% of strokes and 49% of coronary heart disease.
  1. A high salt diet can also contribute to osteoporosis, stomach cancer, kidney disease, kidney stones and obesity.
  1. For every 1g of salt we cut from our average daily intake there would be 4,147 fewer deaths from strokes and heart attacks each year, and could save the NHS £288 million a year!
  1. The total cost of the salt campaign including the FSA cost are approximately £15million.  The overall savings according to NICE are approximately £1.5billion
  1. Achieving the 6g intake target will prevent a further 17,000 premature deaths every year and save the economy around £4billion
  1. According to the WHO, if global salt consumption were reduced to recommended levels, an estimated 2.5 million deaths could be prevented each year.  
  1. Your blood pressure as a child can influence your blood pressure as an adult, so keeping your salt intake down from a young age is important.
  1. Salt intake has fallen in adults in the UK from 9.5g to 8.1g per day, a 15% reduction in the national salt intake.
  1. About 75% of salt is hidden in processed foods, not salt we add to our food.
  1. In the UK, about 17% of the salt in a our diet comes from bread, the largest contributor of salt in our diets
  1. According to the latest National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS) data from 2012, cereals and cereal products still provide the most salt to our diets at 31%, while 27% comes from meat and meat products. For children, 36% of their salt is from cereals and cereal products and 28% is from meat products.
  1. More than 20,000 tonnes of salt per year has been removed from the UK diet since the start of the salt reduction policy. 
  1. Supermarkets are leading the way with salt reduction, with big brands dragging their heels
  1. The work in the UK is being copied worldwide, with good progress being made in Australia, Canada and South America.
  1. Reading product labels can help to determine if a product is high or low in salt, and whether or not it is high compared to similar product. The UK’s new Front of Pack labelling system is now much easier to read, and is being used across a whole range of products, making it easier than ever to compare foods with each other. Use FoodSwitch to help find healthier alternatives.

Check out NHS Choices great infographic on salt

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