This site is intended for health professionals only

Reducing salt intake by 1g could save 4,000 lives

If people in the UK reduced their salt intake by just 1g it would save more than 4,000 lives, a representative body for local authorities explained.

As well as preventing 4,147 deaths it could save the NHS £288 million each year, the Local Government Association (LGA) said.

Speaking ahead of National Salt Awareness Week (29 February to 6 March), LGA community and wellbeing spokesperson, Izzi Seccombe, said: "Too much salt can kill, and thousands of deaths from salt-related health issues like high blood pressure, strokes and heart attacks could be saved, if we took action to reduce our salt consumption...”

To do this the government should change the recommended daily intake of salt, the Association urged. This strategy has proved successful in reducing the population's intake by 15% since 2000/1 to 2011, a decrease from 9.5g to 8.1g, which is the current average UK adult's intake.

It is recommended that adults should not be eating more than 6g of salt (2.4g sodium) a day.

Seccombe added: “Councils across the country, who are responsible for public health, have been working hard to bring salt levels down through innovative initiatives, which include setting up projects to work with restaurants, takeaways and fish and chip shops.

"But this won't solve the problem alone. Big restaurant, pub and fast food chains need to commit to cutting salt, and help save lives," she recommended.