Abstract P358: Preventive Program for the Gradual Reduction of Salt Consumption in Italy
Background: Strategies aiming at reducing dietary sodium are being implemented in many countries based on robust evidence-based knowledge supporting their beneficial effects and their cost-effectiveness for reduction of cardiovascular and other chronic diseases. The “Gaining health: make healthy choices easy choice” Preventive Program of the Italian Ministry of Health is implemented in Italy. It includes the agreement with bread makers’ associations for the gradual reduction of the salt content in bread, public information campaigns and the evaluation of population current dietary sodium intakes.
Methods: To assess population salt intake, 24-hour urine collection using standardized procedures was performed for 15 different random samples within the MINISAL-GIRCSI-Health Examination Survey 2008- 2011: 1519 men and 1450 women aged 35-79 years. Determinations of sodium excretion were assessed in a centralized laboratory.
Results: A voluntary agreements with the main National Associations of Bakers to rich 10% salt reduction by 2010 and 15% by 2011 and to produce a “special bread” with 50% salt reduction was signed in 2009. Public information campaigns are implemented giving booklets and posters at the bakeries, showing “logo” of “Gaining health” on the packaging of product with less salt, cooperating with “Consumers Associations” for raising public awareness and involving food industry in communicating to the consumers. Mean level of sodium chloride per day resulted 189 mmol (95% confidence interval: 185-192 mmol) in men and 148 mmol (145-151 mmol) in women. Sodium excretion was higher than 85 mmol or 5 g per day (the recommended upper level for sodium intake) in 96% of men and 88% of women. Half of men had a sodium excretion between 138 and 229 mmol/day and 50% of women had an excretion between 107 and 179 mmol/day. The gender difference in mean sodium excretion was 22% (p<0.0001). In both men and women, higher intake of sodium chloride was found in Southern regions.
Conclusions: Data presented indicate that average daily sodium consumption in Italy is largely higher than that recommended by WHO in all the surveyed regions, in all age categories and in both men and women, with a gender difference likely reflecting differences in food and energy intake. This results fully justify the initiatives undertaken by the Italian Ministry of Health and warrant the implementation of the next steps planned along the strategy for reduction of sodium intake in Italy and its monitoring.
- © 2013 by American Heart Association, Inc.