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Researchers across Australia are calling for a reduction in Australia's salt consumption, with excessive consumption in modern diets highlighted as a 'killer.'
The call comes at an appropriate time, as this Monday marks the start of World Salt Awareness Week (10-16 March 2014), which serves to highlight the importance of reducing salt intake in all populations throughout the world.
Heart Foundation dietitian Barbara Eden said that on average Australians had a daily intake of 1½ teaspoons of salt, but the Foundation recommends the daily intake should amount to one teaspoon for healthy people and two-thirds of a teaspoon for those with high blood pressure or heart disease. She said the 15 per cent reduction of salt intake over 10 years could avert 5800 heart attacks and 4900 strokes a year across Australia. 'Australian adults are each eating 3.2kg of salt every year, which is three times more than we need. Children also eat more than three times what they need - an alarming 2.2kg each year,' she said.
Australian Medical Association WA president Richard Choong said reducing salt in the diet could have a significant impact on blood pressure and even prevent the need for extra prescriptions in those on medication. 'Focusing on salt can actually decrease your blood pressure quite significantly and it can make the difference,' he said. 'There are so many people on medication to control their blood pressure but a simple reduction in salt in their diet can improve that.'
The Heart Foundation has also called on people to sign up and show support from their 'Halt hidden salt' campaign, which calls on the government and food companies to change the way foods are manufactured and step up action to remove hidden salt.
Source: The Heart Foundation, World Action on Salt & Health, The West Australian