Population based strategy for dietary salt intake reduction: Italian initiatives in the European framework

Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2012 Mar;22(3):161-6. doi: 10.1016/j.numecd.2011.10.004. Epub 2012 Feb 23.


Excess dietary sodium chloride (salt) intake is etiologically related to hypertension and cardiovascular disease (CVD). Moderate reduction of salt intake reduces blood pressure (BP) and is expected to contribute to reduce the risk of CVD. Previous community-based trials to reduce BP by means of salt reduction were very successful. The initial positive results of national strategies of dietary salt intake reduction in several European countries, driven by the initiative of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and non-governmental organisations such as the World Action of Salt and Health (WASH), have paved the way for action in other European Union (EU) member states. In Italy, several initiatives aiming at reduction of salt intake at the population level have been recently undertaken. These initiatives include i) the evaluation of current dietary habits promoted by the Working Group for Dietary Salt Reduction in Italy (GIRCSI); ii) the chemical analysis of the bread salt content, a major source of sodium intake in Italy, and the agreement between the bakers' associations and the Ministry of Health for a gradual reduction of the bread salt content; iii) the implementation of educational campaigns to increase population awareness, iv) the involvement of the food catering system. In the immediate future, food reformulation must be extended to other food categories in collaboration with industry, foods' salt targets ought to be defined, the food labelling system must be improved and population salt awareness must be further increased through educational campaigns. The GIRCSI Working Group is committed to pursue these objectives.

MeSH terms

  • Bread / analysis
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Diet, Sodium-Restricted*
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Food Industry / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Health Education
  • Health Policy
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / etiology
  • Hypertension / therapy*
  • Italy
  • National Health Programs* / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Nutrition Policy
  • Program Development
  • Sodium Chloride, Dietary / administration & dosage*


  • Sodium Chloride, Dietary