A key initiative in the healthy eating strategic imperative is forming partnerships to enable reduction in salt (sodium) intake in Victoria. The goal of the initiative is to achieve consensus and commitment on salt reduction action from governments, industry and the general public.
Victorians eat too much salt. High salt intakes cause high blood pressure which is the biggest risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Salt reduction initiatives are one of the most cost-effective prevention strategies.
The Victorian Health Promotion Foundation has established a Salt Reduction Partnership Group, including The George Institute for Global Health, The Heart Foundation, Deakin University’s Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition (IPAN), and the Victorian Department of Health, to review the evidence, consult with stakeholders and develop an action plan for salt reduction in Victoria.
The action plan has the ambitious goal of reducing the average daily salt intake of Victorian adults and children by 1 gram by 2018 with four intervention strategies: generating public debate, raising consumer awareness, strengthening policy initiatives, and supporting food industry innovation. The action plan, launched in May 2015, is supported by significant investment and a robust evaluation strategy.
Achieving consensus and commitment for action on salt reduction from governments, industry and the public will be critical to the success of this initiative.
The innovative approach being taken in Victoria has the potential to provide a best practice example of state-level action on salt reduction, offering a model that can be adopted in other jurisdictions in Australia and abroad.