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Kidney Int. 2010 Oct;78(8):745-53. doi: 10.1038/ki.2010.280. Epub 2010 Aug 18.

WASH-world action on salt and health.

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Centre for Environmental and Preventive Medicine, Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine, Barts and The London School of Medicine & Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London, London, UK.


There is overwhelming evidence that our current high-salt intake is the major factor increasing blood pressure (BP) and, thereby, a major cause of cardiovascular disease and kidney disease worldwide. A reduction in salt intake to the recommended level of <5-6 g/day is very beneficial, and could prevent millions of deaths each year and make major savings for healthcare services. Several countries, e.g., Finland and the UK, have already reduced the amount of salt being consumed by a combined policy of getting the food industry to decrease the amount of salt added to foods, clear labelling on food products, and increasing public awareness of the harmful effects of salt on health. Many other developed countries, e.g., Australia, Canada, and the US, are also stepping up their activities. The major challenge now is to spread this out worldwide, particularly to developing countries where ≈80% of global BP-related disease burden occurs. In many developing countries, most of the salt consumed comes from salt added during cooking or from sauces; therefore, public health campaigns are needed to encourage consumers to use less salt. A modest reduction in salt intake across the whole population will result in major improvements in public health and have huge economic benefits in all countries around the world. World Action on Salt and Health (WASH) is a coalition of health professionals from different countries who know very well the harm of high BP and has a major role in implementing changes in their own countries. We welcome nephrologists to join (

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