Media Release

Salt is a Major National Health Hazard


Kidney Health Australia

Salt Week 1 - 7 February 2010

Kidney Health Australia today said the latest medical research from the United States showing the reduction of salt in diets across the population could be as beneficial as interventions aimed at smoking cessation, weight reduction, or the use of blood pressure controlling drugs, is timely coinciding with Salt Week - 1- 7 February 2010.


Dr. Tim Mathew

Dr. Tim Mathew, Medical Director of Kidney Health Australia said salt reduction in Australian's diets could become a major inexpensive, yet highly effective, public-health intervention for the prevention of chronic disease.

"Salt is a major cause of high blood pressure, and high blood pressure causes more deaths than anything else and creates an increased risk of kidney disease and kidney failure.

"We have to take into account there is considerable evidence supporting the call to reduce salt intake as a means of preventing cardiovascular disease and this should be translated into public awareness and action.

Dr Mathew said the main danger from salt lies directly in the amount of salt used in processed food, which is usually mentioned in small print on the packaging under the tag of sodium.

"Just 3 slices of takeaway pizza can contain the entire daily salt intake for an adult, which is 4 grams per day.

"People are not aware of how much salt they consume with approximately 75% of dietary salt coming from processed foods."

Packaging of processed foods should be carrying larger and more visible warning signs on the impact of salt on people's health, Dr Mathew said.

Sodium (salt) affects the amount of fluid the body retains. Salt also increases thirst, which can lead to drinking more fluid than your kidneys can remove and fluid retention. Too much fluid may cause

  • high blood pressure
  • swelling of ankles, feet, hands and puffiness under the eyes
  • shortness of breath

The amount of salt in your diet may need to be reduced so ask your doctor and dietician for advice.

Foods high in salt include

  • processed foods eg. ham, sausage and luncheon meats
  • fast food e.g. pizza, pies, hamburgers, sausage rolls
  • salty snacks eg. pretzels, chips, salted nuts
  • sauces and pickles
  • salted seasonings eg. stock cubes, celery and vegetable salts


Media Enquiries:
Dr Tim Mathew Medical Director Kidney Health Australia Mobile: 0416 149 863
Ron Smith National Media Communications Kidney Health Australia Mobile: 0417 329 201