WASH Chairman Professor Graham MacGregor and WASH Member Dr Feng He to Establish Action on Salt China

WASH Chairman Professor Graham MacGregor and WASH member Dr Feng He have been awarded £6.6m by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) to establish a new Global Health Research Unit. This award comes from the NIHR’s Global Challenges Research Funding.

The new Global Health Research Unit will be called Action on Salt China (ASC) and will develop and implement a salt reduction programme in China in partnership with several organisations, including the George Institute China, China Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Chinese Center for Health Education and the National Center for Food Safety Risk Assessment.

Professor MacGregor’s previous work has showed that modest reductions in salt intake have major effects on blood pressure, and he translated the scientific evidence into practical public health policy by campaigning through the group Consensus Action on Salt and Health that he set up in 1996.

Professor MacGregor said: “We have been successful in getting salt intake down in the UK. Now many developed countries are copying the UK’s salt reduction model.  Developing countries are lagging behind. China is the largest developing country in the world and salt intake in China is very high.  A reduction in salt intake will prevent hundreds of thousands of stroke and heart disease deaths per year in China.”

Dr He said she is thrilled with the award and added: “In China approximately 80 per cent of the salt in the diet is added by the consumer during cooking. Our experience in China has led to a novel approach to reducing salt in such settings. This new NIHR award will expand the work and develop a more comprehensive strategy to effectively reduce salt consumption in the Chinese population. This will have enormous benefits on health and lead to long-term major cost savings.”

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