Salt intake and health in the Australian population

Jennifer B Keogh and Peter M Clifton
Med J Aust 2008; 189 (9): . || doi: 10.5694/j.1326-5377.2008.tb02155.x
Published online: 3 November 2008

To the Editor: There is an established link between salt intake and blood pressure. The public health impact of a 1–3 mmHg reduction in blood pressure by lowering salt intake could be substantial. An American study found that a projected reduction in diastolic blood pressure of 2 mmHg would result in a 17% decrease in the prevalence of hypertension, a 6% reduction in the risk of coronary artery disease events, and a 15% reduction in risk of stroke and transient ischaemic attacks.1 In Finland, a one-third decrease in average salt intake achieved over 30 years was accompanied by a fall of more than 10 mmHg in the population averages of systolic and diastolic blood pressure.2 However, in the absence of active measures to reduce salt in the food supply, public health messages to reduce salt intake have largely been unsuccessful.

  • CSIRO Preventative Health Flagship, Adelaide, SA.


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  • 3. National Health and Medical Research Council. Nutrient reference values for Australia and New Zealand [website]. (accessed Sep 2008).
  • 4. Beard TC, Woodward DR, Ball PJ, et al. The Hobart Salt Study 1995: few meet national sodium intake target. Med J Aust 1997; 166: 404-407. <MJA full text>
  • 5. Brinkworth GD, Wycherley TP, Noakes M, Clifton PM. Reductions in blood pressure following energy restriction for weight loss do not rebound after re-establishment of energy balance in overweight and obese subjects. Clin Exp Hypertens 2008; 30: 385-396.
  • 6. Margerison C, Nowson CA. Dietary intake and 24-hour excretion of sodium and potassium. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr 2006; 15 Suppl 3: S37.


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