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Nutrients 2014, 6(9), 3672-3695; doi:10.3390/nu6093672
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To Legislate or Not to Legislate? A Comparison of the UK and South African Approaches to the Development and Implementation of Salt Reduction Programs

1,* , 2,3,†
 and
4,5,†
1 School of Medicine, University of Wollongong, Northfields Avenue, Wollongong, NSW 2522, Australia 2 The George Institute for Global Health, Sydney, NSW 2050, Australia 3 WHO Collaborating Centre on Population Salt Reduction, Food Policy Division, 83-117 Missenden Rd, Camperdown, Sydney, NSW 2050, Australia 4 WHO Study on global AGEing and adult health, 20 Avenue Appia, CH-1211 Geneva 27, Switzerland 5 Research Centre for Gender, Health and Ageing, University of Newcastle, University Drive, Newcastle, NSW 2308, Australia These authors contributed equally to this work.
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 19 July 2014 / Revised: 19 August 2014 / Accepted: 25 August 2014 / Published: 16 September 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Salt and Health: A Public Health Issue)
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Abstract

The World Health Organization promotes salt reduction as a best-buy strategy to reduce chronic diseases, and Member States have agreed to a 30% reduction target in mean population salt intake by 2025. Whilst the UK has made the most progress on salt reduction, South Africa was the first country to pass legislation for salt levels in a range of processed foods. This paper compares the process of developing salt reduction strategies in both countries and highlights lessons for other countries. Like the UK, the benefits of salt reduction were being debated in South Africa long before it became a policy priority. Whilst salt reduction was gaining a higher profile internationally, undoubtedly, local research to produce context-specific, domestic costs and outcome indicators for South Africa was crucial in influencing the decision to legislate. In the UK, strong government leadership and extensive advocacy activities initiated in the early 2000s have helped drive the voluntary uptake of salt targets by the food industry. It is too early to say which strategy will be most effective regarding reductions in population-level blood pressure. Robust monitoring and transparent mechanisms for holding the industry accountable will be key to continued progress in each of the countries.
Keywords: salt reduction; legislation; South Africa; United Kingdom; food policy; food supply salt reduction; legislation; South Africa; United Kingdom; food policy; food supply
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Charlton, K.; Webster, J.; Kowal, P. To Legislate or Not to Legislate? A Comparison of the UK and South African Approaches to the Development and Implementation of Salt Reduction Programs. Nutrients 2014, 6, 3672-3695.

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