Strategies and Opportunities Ahead to Reduce Salt Intake.
In Iran, as in most countries, cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death (highest mortality rate), but rank third in terms of disease burden. On the other hand, the relationship between high salt intake, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease has been proven. Food consumption pattern in Iran shows that consumption of salt, pickled foods and salty snacks is common. Regarding the World Health Organization (WHO) target for salt intake (about 5 g per day), the evidence indicates that Iranian people consume 2–3 times more than the recommended amount of salt. Fortunately, serious attention has been paid to this matter since 2009 and along with arrangements for it, support of all relevant sectors (public and private) has been included in the agenda. At present, reduction of salt intake is among the major priorities of planners, policy makers, and experts of the Iranian health services system. On the other hand, many studies in EMRO have shown high levels of daily salt intake in these countries. In this review, the solutions used in the Islamic Republic of Iran at various levels were considered, including determination of salt intake measurement methods, revision in the amount of salt in processed food products, food labeling, promoting awareness of various social groups, gathering support from all relevant sectors, designing a regular public awareness campaign for reducing salt intake, and lessons learned in this regard, that can be helpful to countries in the region.