By Jerril Rechter, VicHealth CEO
First published in the Ararat Advertiser on 15 May 2015.
Six times more Victorians are dying as a result of high salt intake than on our roads.
Each year in Victoria, we consume more than 15,000 tonnes of salt – nearly double the upper limit that’s recommended. But by reducing the amount of salt we consume by 30 per cent, we’d save 800 lives each year and $50 million in healthcare costs.
Salt increases the risk of high blood pressure, affecting one in four Victorians and accounting for half of all strokes, heart disease and chronic kidney disease deaths.
With 75 per cent of salt in the Australian diet coming from processed foods like pizza, bread and ready-made sauces, it’s easy to see how Victorians are eating more salt than they realise – or need.
That’s why VicHealth is launching The State of Salt: The Case for Salt Reduction in Victoria as part of Australia’s commitment to a 30% reduction in salt intake by 2025.
We will work with governments, health groups, the food industry and the public to increase awareness and strengthen healthy policies.
Victoria is leading the way in tackling Australia’s high salt intake, but if we’re serious about achieving the 30 per cent target, it’s time for us all to step up and cut back.
Taking the salt shaker off the table would be a great first step.