One of the main factors involved in the origin of primary arterial hypertension (AHT) is the excessive sodium consumption, ingested in the form of sodium chloride (common salt) with the diet, thus for every 2.5 g. of salt, 1 g. of sodium is ingested. WHO has recommended that the daily maximum salt intake is 5 g. in order to prevent arterial hypertension.
The international institutions (WHO, FAO, EU), as well as the governments of many countries are basing part of their actions and interventions to prevent chronic diseases on primary prevention measures, such as reducing salt intake. It is necessary that these actions are carried out from all approaches – the salt content in food, the addition of salt when cooking, or the awareness of citizens, so as to obtain satisfactory results.
By the end of 2008 AESAN considered the development of a strategy to reduce population-wide salt intake, with specific reduction targets that enable the progressive achievement of the WHO recommendations on population-wide salt intake of 5 g./ person/ day and consequently this reduction in salt intake in Spain may reduce morbidity and mortality attributable to arterial hypertension and cardiovascular diseases.
This initiative, in line with those launched in various European countries with positive results (United Kingdom, Finland, inter alia), lies within the framework of the policy promoted by the EU (European Commission-DG SANCO) both indirectly through the European Commission White Paper ‘A Strategy for Europe on Nutrition, Overweight and Obesity-related health issues’ and through the recommendations established by the High-Level Group (Working Group of Member States and the Commission - DG SANCO), that gives top priority to the approach on salt reduction in European countries with flexibility and respect as regards its implementation according the particularities of each Member State, and establishes the following strategic lines in order to address any national initiative to reduce salt intake:
AESAN held a series of discussion days in November. These sessions were aimed at sharing updated information and the results of studies and work promoted by AESAN with experts from different fields and sectors. The purpose was to find out the data on salt consumption in Spain and to further actions and measures that should be implemented in a practical and realistic fashion in Spain so as to address a strategy to reduce salt consumption with a broad consensus.