The Australian Division of World Action on Salt and Health (AWASH) supports a new report from the American Medical Association (AMA) that calls for a major reduction in the salt content of processed and restaurant foods, the source of 80% of consumer’s salt intake.
The AMA report, which highlights the substantial public health gains from reductions in salt intake, reinforces the messages of AWASH’s Drop the Salt! Campaign launched in May that aims to work with the Australian food industry to achieve a 25% reduction in the salt content of processed foods over the next five years.
During this period, AWASH will join with key consumer and health organisations, to raise consumer awareness and encourage individuals to take positive steps to reduce their salt intake.
“There is clear evidence that salt is a major cause of high blood pressure, translating into increased risks of heart attacks and stroke,” AWASH chair Dr Bruce Neal said.
“Most (Australians) are eating well above the six grams (of salt) per day recommended by the Heart Foundation of Australia.
“A reduction to six grams a day would prevent about one fifth of all strokes and heart attacks in Australia each year,” said Dr Neal.
The AWASH campaign is a response to the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) report released in April 2007 that highlighted salt’s negative health impact through strong scientific evidence and urged countries to adopt national approaches to reduce the salt content of foods.