Heart Foundation’s national spokesperson, Kellie-Ann Jolly said eating too much salt can cause high blood pressure and increases the risk of heart attack.
“Australian adults are each eating 3.2 kg of salt every year, which is three times more than we need. “Children also eat more than three times what they need – an alarming 2.2 kg each year,” Ms Jolly said.
“These days, most of the salt we consume is not added at the table, but hidden in the food we eat every day. “Around 75 per cent of the salt we consume is hidden in the processed foods we eat; like bread, breakfast cereals, processed meats, cheese, sauces and spreads,” she said.
Reducing our intake of salt from processed foods by just 15 per cent over 10 years would avert 5,800 heart attacks and 4,900 strokes a year.
“Given all the hidden salt in our everyday processed foods, it is almost impossible for people to cut salt from their diet unless they eliminate all processed foods.” While fresh is best, the reality is that packaged foods make up a large portion of our supermarket trolley. “That’s why we’re calling for action to halt the hidden salt in supermarket and takeaway products and make our food healthier,” she added.
“We want the government to commit to a National Action Plan on Salt. “This means increasing funding for industry programs to make our food healthier, making salt targets mandatory for all processed and takeaway foods, implementing the new star rating food labelling system and educating the community so we can all make healthier choices.
“We know Australians are eating too much salt, so if we’re to beat heart disease – Australia’s number 1 killer – we need to cut Australia’s salt intake by a third.”
The Heart Foundation’s National Director of Cardiovascular Health, Dr Rob Grenfell added that the Heart Foundation has been leading the way for more than 20 years through the work of our Tick Program helping Australians make healthier choices.
“Gradually over time we’ve been helping make our supermarket foods healthier by working with industry to reduce this hidden killer. “While some of Australia’s food manufactures have made huge strides in reducing salt content in our foods and should be commended, if we’re serious about improving our nation’s health we need both government and industry to step up action and do more,” Dr Grenfell said.
To join the campaign to get salt out of processed food, visit heartfoundation.org.au/halthiddensalt.