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Interested in developing a national programme to reduce dietary salt?


High dietary salt is a major contributor to increased blood pressure, the leading risk for death worldwide. In several countries, national programmes to reduce dietary salt have been implemented with leadership and involvement of hypertension experts. Other hypertension experts may be interested in assisting or leading a national programme to reduce dietary salt, however, may not have the experience or training to do so. The article is based on the experiences of three hypertension experts who have led the development of national dietary salt reduction programmes in the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada. The article advises developing leadership and a coalition, conducting a nation-specific environmental scan of facilitators and barriers, estimating the national health and financial costs of high dietary salt and the benefits of reducing salt intake, obtaining core documents to provide the scientific rational for the programme, developing a policy statement to outline the required actions to be undertaken, engaging government and industry, using media to gain public support, overcoming industry supported opposition and sustaining the effort long term. Resources and potential sources for international collaboration are provided as well as caveats for developing the programme within the specific nations’ context and overall effort to improve health. Developing and leading a national salt reduction programme is a major commitment, however, reducing dietary salt is estimated to be one of the most effective strategies to improve a nation's health.

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Correspondence to N R C Campbell.

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Competing interests

Dr Bruce Neal has in the past 5 years been a Consultant/Advisor or received fees for attending a meeting from Pfizer (2005), Roche (2009), Takeda (2010), Pepsico (2010); Lecture fees (honoraria), travel fees or reimbursements when speaking at the invitation of a commercial entity—Amgen (2007), AstraZeneca (2010), GlaxoSmithKline (2007), Pfizer (2007), Roche (2005), Sanofi Aventis (2006), Servier (2008), Tanabe (2007); Research support from a commercial entity—Johnson and Johnson (2011), Merck Schering Plough (2011), Roche (2011), Servier (2010), United Healthcare Group (2011). Dr Neal interacts regularly with multiple large corporations in the Pharmaceutical Industry, the Food Processing Industry and the Quick Service Restaurant industry in Australia and overseas, in his efforts to achieve negotiated solutions to major public health problems. Dr Campbell has received travel support and a speaker fee from Boehringer Ingelhiem in 2010 but has no other conflicts of interest in the past 2 years, and Dr MacGregor has no conflicts of interest.

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Campbell, N., Neal, B. & MacGregor, G. Interested in developing a national programme to reduce dietary salt?. J Hum Hypertens 25, 705–710 (2011).

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  • prevention
  • dietary salt
  • high blood pressure
  • public health
  • advocacy

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