The urgency of monitoring salt consumption and its effects in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians

Christopher G Lawrence*
Med J Aust 2013; 198 (7): . || doi: 10.5694/mja12.10745
Published online: 15 April 2013

To the Editor: There is convincing evidence that high salt diets are linked to elevated blood pressure — a major risk factor for chronic diseases.1 Premature mortality due to chronic diseases is a major contributor to the life expectancy gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.2 Although much has been written about the health benefits of a traditional hunter-gatherer diet and the detrimental effects of colonisation on diet and exercise patterns,3 we know little about how colonisation has affected salt intake among Indigenous Australians.

  • The George Institute for Global Health, Sydney, NSW.


Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.

*On behalf of Mary-Anne Land, Sandra J Eades, Kerin O’Dea, Bruce C Neal, Alan Cass and Jacqui L Webster.

  • 1. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Chronic diseases and associated risk factors in Australia, 2006. Canberra: AIHW, 2006. (AIHW Cat. No. PHE 81.)
  • 2. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Contribution of chronic disease to the gap in adult mortality between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and other Australians. Canberra: AIHW, 2011. (AIHW Cat. No. IHW 48.)
  • 3. O’Dea K. Traditional diet and food preferences of Australian Aboriginal hunter-gatherers. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci 1991; 334: 233-241.
  • 4. National Heart Foundation of Australia (National Blood Pressure and Vascular Disease Advisory Committee). Guide to the management of hypertension 2008. Updated 2010. Canberra: NHF, 2010.
  • 5. He FJ, MacGregor GA. Effect of modest salt reduction on blood pressure: a meta-analysis of randomized trials. Implications for public health. J Hum Hypertens 2002; 16: 761-770.
  • 6. Murray CJL, Lopez AD, Black R, et al. Global burden of disease 2005: call for collaborators. Lancet 2007; 370: 109-110.
  • 7. National Health and Medical Research Council; New Zealand Ministry of Health. Nutrient reference values for Australia and New Zealand including recommended dietary intakes. Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia, 2006. (accessed Mar 2013).


remove_circle_outline Delete Author
add_circle_outline Add Author

Do you have any competing interests to declare? *

I/we agree to assign copyright to the Medical Journal of Australia and agree to the Conditions of publication *
I/we agree to the Terms of use of the Medical Journal of Australia *
Email me when people comment on this article

Online responses are no longer available. Please refer to our instructions for authors page for more information.