Action on Salt China launched in Beijing

On 11th October, 2017, the Launch event of ASC Programme – NIHR Global Health Research Unit Action on Salt China – was successfully held in Beijing.

More than 70 authorities and experts attended. These included: Academician Longde Wang, President of Chinese Preventive Medicine Association; Mr. Qunan Mao, Director-General of Department of Communication and Health Promotion of the National Health and Family Planning Commission; Professor Zhaosu Wu,Chairman of Chinese Hypertension League; Professors Graham MacGregor and Fengjun He from Queen Mary University of London; Professor Craig Anderson, Executive Director, and Professor Puhong Zhang, Associate Director of The George Institute China; Mr. Ash Kirchner, First Secretary, Health and Social Care at the British Embassy, Beijing; Dr. Fabio Scano, Coordinator of Disease Control of the WHO China office; Mr. Changning Li, Director-General of Chinese Center for Health Education; Professor Xinhua Li, Party Committee Secretary of Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention; Professor Weixing Yan, and Vice Director-General of China National Center for Food Safety Risk Assessment.  In addition, there were delegates from the Provincial Center for Disease Control and Prevention, food industry representatives, and media who joined the meeting to learn about some highlights of the execution details of ASC (Action on Salt China).

Reducing salt intake is one of the most important and cost-effective measures that countries can take to improve the health of their people. However, the strong influence of traditional food culture has resulted in the average salt consumption among Chinese people being much higher than is recommended by the Chinese Nutrition Society (6g/day) and WHO (5g/day).

Under these circumstance, The George Institute China has initiated the ASC program to reduce salt intake in China to be undertaken over the next 4 years.  ASC involves collaborative partnerships with  academic researchers and public health physicians at Queen Mary University of London, and has strong potential to have a major impact in achieving reduced salt consumption targets in China.

The program is a collaboration between Queen Mary University of London and The George Institute China, and an expansive network of partnerships with various health authorities in China that include the  Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (China CDC), Chinese Centre for Health Education (CCHE) and China National Centre for Food Safety Risk Assessment (CFSA).

Professor Puhong Zhang, China Director of ASC said, “We will develop and implement a comprehensive, effective and sustainable national salt reduction program targeting various salt intake paths, with the goal of achieving a 15% reduction by 2021 and 30% reduction by 2025.”

Professor Craig Anderson, Executive Director of George Institute China said although there was a long way to go, China's salt reduction work is an imperative. “By cooperating with a world leading University and China authorities, we hope ASC will achieve a comprehensive salt reduction strategy and truly reduce salt intake.  Therefore, hundreds of thousands of cases of stroke and heart disease in China can be prevented each year.  Moreover, it will provide other countries with a model of successful salt reduction activity to refer to.”

Professor Graham MacGregor, Director of ASC and Dr. Fengjun He, UK Executive Director from Queen Mary University of London shared their experiences of reducing the amount of salt consumption in the UK and other countries.  Professor Graham said, “Reducing salt intake is one of the most cost-effective measures countries can take to improve population health outcomes.  By decreasing salt consumption, almost one million mortality rates caused by stroke, heart attack and heart failure can be decreased each year.”

Dr Mao Qun’an, Director General of Communication and Health Promotion Department, National Health and Family Planning Commission of China expressed high expectations on ASC: “I expect ASC could play an important role in promoting healthy lifestyle for the general public through multi-sectoral collaboration and all society participation in China. “ 

Academician Longde Wang, President of Chinese Preventive Medicine Association, who is also the Chairman of Governing Council of ASC said, “By learning the experience from China, also from UK and other countries through ASC, China will explore our own comprehensive salt reduction strategies, which will not only benefit our Chinese people, but will also contribute to global health development.