Action on salt China

Salt reduction lowers blood pressure and reduces cardiovascular disease including stroke, heart attack and heart failure. Research has shown that if people reduced their salt intake by 15% it could prevent 8.5 million cardiovascular deaths over 10 years in 23 developing countries and result in major cost savings. The UK has reduced salt by 15% from 2003 to 2011 due to a successful salt reduction program leading by Professor Graham MacGregor, Consensus Action on Salt and Health (CASH). In 2005, WASH (World Action on Salt and Health) was initiated by Professor MacGregor, with a mission of reducing salt globally. WASH has helped many countries develop a salt reduction strategy.

Reaching China

China is the largest developing country with one fifth of the world’s population. Due to Chinese traditional cooking and dining habits, salt intake in China is very high and about 80% of the salt is added by the consumer to food. Hypertension and strokes which are often directly related to high salt intake are among the highest in the world. Salt reduction is one of most cost-effective health strategies to lower population blood pressure and prevent the development of hypertension.

Following the success of CASH and WASH, Queen Mary University of London joined with the George Institute for Global Health China and Chinese health authorities, including the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, Chinese Centre for Health Education and China National Centre for Food Safety Risk Assessment. Other partnerships have been successful with healthcare organizations, NGOs, the media sector, the education department, as well as the Women’s Federation and the food processing and foodservice industry for developing the program, “Action on Salt China” (ASC). The aim of ASC is to develop and implement a comprehensive and sustainable salt reduction program, especially focusing on home cooking, and restaurant and pre-packaged foods. The goal is to achieve a 15% reduction by 2021 and 30% reduction by 2025. 


ASC program was commissioned by UK National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) using Official Development Assistance (ODA) funding.