NewsNewsPreventionWorld Hypertension Day 2023

World Hypertension Day 2023

17 May 2023

Hypertension is the leading medical risk factor for cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), and CVD is the leading cause of death in Europe. Excess salt intake is one of the main causes of hypertension. On World Hypertension Day, the European Heart Network calls for policymakers to support food reformulation initiatives and the implementation of other salt reduction strategies that promote cardiovascular health at the population level.

Dietary salt intake is not under the control of the individual as 80% of the daily intake comes from manufactured food products, such as bread cheese and ready-made meals. Salt intake of less than 5 grams per day is associated with lower blood pressure in adults and improved heart health, yet the average salt intake in the EU is almost 10gr per day.

On World Hypertension Day, EHN asks policy makers to drive the food industry to take steps towards improving population cardiovascular health by developing salt reduction strategies which take into account measures such as:

  • Reducing salt content in food products. This can be done gradually so that consumers adapt to the taste and do not switch to other products high in salt;
  • Developing front-of-pack labelling which includes information on salt intake of food products;
  • Banning marketing to children of food products that have a negative impact on children’s health;

EHN commends the World Health Organisation’s Signature Initiative, launched in December 2022, to reduce cardiovascular disease through salt reduction and hypertension control. The initiative’s integrated approach to improving hypertension detection, treatment and control in primary care is a positive step for cardiovascular prevention in the European region. It is a great opportunity to reduce hypertension at the population level by introducing salt-reduction strategies to create health-promoting environments.