Greece moves to raise awareness about salt consumption

Average salt consumption in Greece is still high and is an important risk factor for raised blood pressure. Indeed, according to the Global Burden of Disease study, raised blood pressure is among the top 3 factors that account for most of the disease burden in Greece. Actions related to salt reduction are therefore a priority.

In March 2016, the Management Board of the Hellenic Food Authority endorsed the Salt Reduction Strategy 2016–2020. Along with reformulation actions such as salt reduction in bread, raising awareness regarding salt reduction is an important pillar of the Strategy. In addition to strong political leadership and sustained commitment by the food manufacturers, consumers can contribute to the success of the Strategy by demanding and choosing products with less salt and by learning to add less salt when preparing meals.

Events and symposia dedicated to salt reduction as well as information for consumers delivered in clear, simple and pleasant ways are necessary. Infographics are a particularly popular tool for presenting information because they can capture consumers’ attention more effectively and convey more in less time than plain text.

At an event on salt reduction in Athens on 4 November 2016, Dr João Breda from WHO/Europe presented an overview of salt reduction strategies in Europe, noting that such initiatives for salt reduction are consistent with the objectives of the WHO European Food and Nutrition Action Plan 2015–2020. In collaboration with the Hellenic Dietetic Association, the Hellenic Food Authority also launched its new salt-reduction infographic.

The infographic revolves around the number 5, emphasizing that WHO recommends no more than 5 g of salt per day and proposing 5 simple steps towards meeting this target. In light of some confusion among consumers regarding salt consumption and the increasing popularity of specialty salts, the launch of the infographic was well timed.

Experts expect the dissemination of the infographic through the internet and social media to contribute to raising awareness among the population.