Cutting salt could save 6,000 lives a year in Australia, National Heart Foundation says

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 17th May 2012

Cutting the Australians’ salt intake by three grams a day would prevent an estimated 6,000 deaths a year from heart disease and stroke, the National Heart Foundation of Australia said today.

According to the National Heart Foundation, the average Australian eats around nine grams of salt a day – far in excess of the Heart Foundation’s recommended maximum of six grams for healthy Australians and four grams for people with existing high blood pressure or heart disease.

Dr Robert Grenfell, Clinical Issues Director at the Heart Foundation said, “Research suggests that if we cut the nation’s salt intake by an average of three grams a day, we could prevent 6,000 deaths in Australia every year.

“Eating too much salt can cause high blood pressure (also known as hypertension), which is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke.”

The Foundation is also part of the Federal Government’s Food and Health Dialogue, which aims to make processed foods healthier by, for example, reducing the amount of salt in food categories such as bread, soups, sauces and savoury pies.

As a result of the Dialogue’s work in Australia’s bread sector alone, around 1,000 tonnes of salt is being removed from the Australian food supply every year.

“While the Dialogue has made a good start, increased funding is desperately needed to really super-charge the food reformulation agenda by introducing targets for more food categories more quickly and supporting that work with public education campaigns,” Dr Grenfell said.