An overview of salt intake reduction efforts in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries
Globally, morbidity and mortality from non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are increasing steadily and at an alarming rate. High blood pressure is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD) and salt reduction is an effective measure to decrease mortality rates. In the Eastern Mediterranean region, current salt intake is high, with an average intake of >12 g per person per day. Reducing the intake of salt has been identified as a priority intervention to reduce NCDs. Countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) are showing a willingness to comply with the World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations and an eagerness to reduce the burden of NCDs. However, they face some challenges, including lack of political commitment, lack of experience, and shortage of qualified human resources. Salt intake reduction efforts vary in the GCC region, from achieving 20% salt reduction in bread, to the very early stages of planning.