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Salt reduction can save many lives at low cost

Eating too much salt raises blood pressure and the risk of cardiovascular disease, heart attack, stroke and kidney disease.

Globally, excess sodium consumption (more than 5 grams a day, or about a teaspoon of table salt) leads to almost 2 million deaths each year.

Four out of five of these deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries.

Nearly half are among people younger than 70 years of age.

The average person’s salt intake is nearly twice the limit recommended by the World Health Organization.

Reducing salt consumption can save lives, with a cost of about $0.40 per person.

Our Goal

To reduce the global intake of salt by 30%, which would prevent more than 700,000 heart disease deaths each year among adults younger than 70.

How we work

Based on WHO’s  SHAKE Technical Package for Salt Reduction, our core set of evidence-based salt reduction strategies target the three areas where salt is most commonly found: packaged food, food prepared in the home and food prepared outside the home. Detailed information on each strategy can be found here.

Packaged food

  • Mandatory Salt Targets
  • Front of pack warning labels
  • Marketing restrictions
  • Fiscal policies

Away-from-home food

  • Healthy public food procurement and service policies


  • Promotion of potassium-based low-sodium salt substitutes

Our Work in Action

Our healthy public food procurement and service work includes nutrition requirements for food purchased by governments and served or sold in public settings, including limits on sodium content. Thus far, this effort has informed new policies and initiatives in 14 cities or countries. Our grantee ImagineLaw established a model healthy public food procurement and service policy in Quezon City, the largest city in the Philippines.

We also support a variety of innovative strategies for reducing salt consumption, including the broader use of lower-sodium salts and development of a low sodium fish sauce in Vietnam. In India and China, we are funding research on the impact of promotion and subsidies on the uptake of low sodium salt.   

Quezon City
Salt Reduction Media Campaign in China

Prominent labels can effectively warn consumers to avoid items high in unhealthy nutrients (such as sodium) and can lead to reformulation by manufacturers. We are funding research to build an evidence base for front-of-package labeling policies in five countries, and we support advocacy efforts in four additional countries.

We launched mass media campaigns in Vietnam, China and Ethiopia  to depict the dangers of a high salt diet and promote sodium reduction that reached 120 million people in China, India, Vietnam and Ethiopia.

We supported WHO to develop global sodium benchmarks for over 60 categories of packaged food.  We are working with our partners to support adapting these benchmarks into country-specific sodium targets in China and into mandatory sodium standards in Thailand, Nigeria and Montenegro

We support the development of global resources, including:

Where We Work: Salt Reduction

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