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began in April 2009) and is overseeing implementation of its strategies and monitoring progress.1

As the working group proceeds, it is expected to use input from several stakeholders, as well as data from sources such as the Total Diet Study (an ongoing research program that has provided Canadian dietary intake data since 1969) and the Canadian Community Health Survey.

In the interim, Health Canada’s revised Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide advises Canadians to use the Nutrition Facts table on prepackaged food to choose foods that are lower in sodium.2


In 2008 a common framework was developed by the European Union (EU) to advance reduction in salt intake at the population level.4 A goal of this initiative is to achieve WHO’s strategies for a 16 percent reduction in salt intake during the next 4 years (against individual country baseline levels in 2008). The framework focuses on 12 categories of food that have been identified as priorities, of which each member state will choose at least 5 for its national plans. The first monitoring report is due in 2010.


Finland’s National Nutrition Council first initiated a salt reduction campaign in the late 1970s, when salt intake was estimated to be approximately 12 g/d (4,800 mg/d sodium), making it one of the first countries to attempt to systematically reduce the sodium intake of its population (He and MacGregor, 2009; Laatikainen et al., 2006). From 1979 to 1982, a community-based intervention called the North Karelia project was conducted to reduce mortality associated with cardiovascular disease by reducing population-wide sodium intake. Several stakeholders were involved with the project (health service organizations, schools, non-governmental organizations, media outlets, and the food industry) (European Commission, 2008). After 3 years, the project was expanded to include the entire


Available online: (accessed March 24, 2010).


Available online: (accessed October 15, 2009).


The European Union consists of 27 sovereign member states: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.


Available online: (accessed October 14, 2009).

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