Scaling Up and Evaluating Salt Reduction Policies and Programs in Latin American Countries
High salt diets are a major cause of high blood pressure, a leading risk factor for death, and account for close to two-thirds of strokes and one-half of heart disease incidents worldwide. This project will address Latin America's high blood pressure rates through research that will strengthen and expand existing salt reduction programs. The project will also introduce new programs in Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica, Paraguay, and Peru. Sodium reduction policy options The Costa Rican Institute of Research and Teaching in Nutrition and Health's A. Blanco Metzler will lead the project. Metzler is working on an IDRC-funded project on salt reduction. The research team will identify public policy innovations for sodium reduction in food systems in the five project countries. The goal is to promote healthy diets that are lower in sodium. The research team will -assess and compare sodium content of food in the five countries -analyze the health and economic benefits of population-wide sodium reduction -assess the drivers and barriers for consumers to change -develop social marketing strategies -evaluate the success indicators for initiatives and partnerships Knowledge translation and awareness Project results will help strengthen abilities in the governmental and non-governmental sectors to inform and influence policy change, while increasing consumer awareness in the region. The project team will leverage the research through the Pan American Health Organization's SaltSmart Consortium. It aims to reduce dietary salt intake across the Americas to levels of less than 5 grams per day, as recommended by the World Health Organization. This project includes a knowledge translation strategy that will promote optimal reach, uptake, and adoption of research findings. The strategy will also provide the basis for a broader application to healthy diets to help reduce non-communicable diseases in Latin America.