European Member States meet to discuss the state of play regarding salt and iodine policies in Europe

The meeting of the WHO Action Network on Salt on 20th and 21st October 2011 in London, includes updates on where Member States stand regarding WHO/Europe’s salt reduction strategy. In addition, the meeting covers the UN High Level Meeting and WHO/Europe Noncommunicable Disease (NCD) Action Plan, cost and benefit estimates of salt reduction policy and recent research on reducing salt.

Reducing salt intake is part of the population-based approaches outlined in the Global Status report on NCDs. Specifically, three of the ten Best Buys for reducing NCDs are related to nutrition and physical activity:

  • reduce salt intake and salt content of food
  • replace trans-fat in food with unsaturated fat
  • promote public awareness about diet and physical activity.

Why focus on salt?

In Europe, approximately 70-75% of all salt consumed is hidden in processed foods or food products of the food industry and is not under the control of the consumer. High salt consumption is a major factor contributing to increased blood pressure and strongly associated with cardiovascular diseases and linked to other NCDs such as strokes, left ventricular hypertrophy and renal disease.