Italy Salt Action Summary

2015

A new study from WASH member Francesco Cappuccio and colleagues aiming to assess geographic and socioeconomic gradients in sodium and potassium intake across Italy found that participants from southern Italy had a significantly higher sodium excretion than participants from other areas of the country. 

To view the full study, please click here

2013

In 2013, the WHO reviewed salt reduction activities across the European region and produced the report 'Mapping salt reduction initiatives in the WHO European Region'. Below is a summary of salt reduction activities in Italy, as reported in this document:

In 2007 the Interdisciplinary Working Group for Reduction of Salt Intake in Italy (GIRCSI, a government initiative led by the Ministry of Health, was launched to set benchmarks recommended by the WHO, establish agreements with the bakery industry on salt reduction, and reducing the salt content of the products that contribute the most salt to the Italian diet.

In 2009, the Ministry of Health (MINISAL)-GIRCSI programme was established with the support of the National Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. The aim of this programme was to measure the baseline intake of the population, monitor intake and evaluate the salt content of commonly consumed foods.

The MINISAL-GIRCSI baseline assessment found that average salt intake was 11g per day for men and 8g per day for women and also found that 72% of the population eat three slices of bread a day and 22% eat cheese and processed meat more than 4 times a week.

World Salt Awareness Week, which is supported by GIRCSI and the Italian Society of Human Nutrition, is promoted every year through public awareness campaigns.

In 2009, an agreement was made between the Minister of Health and the bakers’ associations to reduce salt in bread and other bakery products by 10-15% by 2011.

March 2009

The Italian Nutrition Society, founded in 1963 by a group of physiology and nutrition experts, has been active in putting salt reduction on the agenda of Italian health. The group has been active in progressing the Working Group for Reduction of Salt Intake in Italy (GIRCSI), publishing the Italian Recommended Daily Allowances for energy and nutrients.

September 2008

A campaign for cardiovascular disease prevention and health promotion has been undertaken in the autonomous region of Sardinia by Professor Sergio Muntoni. An illustrated booklet, including recommendations for reducing salt intake was delivered to every household in Sardinia, posted with the electricity bill. Results showed that over 20% of rural and over 29% of urban people reduced their salt intake. Sardinia has also seen a corresponding fall in systolic blood pressure from 129 to 125 mmHg in three years (p=0.5) and diastolic from 83 to 80 mmHg (p=0.004). Sardinia continues in its efforts to reach the EU salt reduction target of 16% in 4 years.

July 2008

WASH member Professor Sergio Muntoni proposed to the Sardinian Government to launch a Campaign for cardiovascular disease prevention and health promotion (the ATS-SARDEGNA Campaign, the first one in Italy) to be spread to all Sardinian villages and cities. Together with animal fats and alcohol abuse, the Campaign had salt consumption as a target. He received a congratulation letter from WHO.