Excessive consumption of salt (more than 5 g per day) raises blood pressure, a major risk factor for cardiovascular diseases such as heart disease and stroke, and is the leading cause of death in the WHO European Region. Many countries in the Region have initiated national salt reduction strategies, including public awareness campaigns, reformulation, and front-of-pack nutrition labelling. However, despite ongoing efforts, surveillance data indicate that salt intake still far exceeds the limits recommended by WHO to protect health.
More concerted efforts are needed to develop effective national salt reduction programmes, conduct high-quality surveillance, and implement policies and interventions that are known to be effective in reducing population-level salt intake. In response, the WHO Regional Office for Europe – through the WHO European Office for the Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases in Moscow, as part of its mandate to support Member States and provide technical leadership for the prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases in the Region – has produced this country support package, which countries throughout the Region can use either to accelerate existing efforts to reduce salt intake or to embark on salt reduction journeys that have yet to begin.