Salt: Hard to Shake

The Globe and Mail recently took on the issue of salt intake in a feature, Salt: Hard to Shake. The series featured Libin Institute Member, Dr. Norm Campbell, Canadian Chair of Hypertension Prevention and Control, referring to his expertise in several articles. Links and excerpts have been provided below.


Article one: Ask a doctor – Dr. Norm Campbell

Hosted by the Globe and Mail, this was an on-line session with Dr. Campbell taking some thoughtful and challenging questions from the public.

Article two: Under Pressure


Five million Canadians have high blood pressure. Norm Campbell, a medical professor at the University of Calgary, says that simply reducing dietary sodium to nearer recommended amounts would eliminate one case in five.

“It’s almost negligent we haven’t done something about this before,” says Dr. Campbell, who was named the first Canadian Chair in Hypertension Prevention and Control by a group including the Canadian Institutes of Health Research in 2006.

Article three: The taste of things to come


But based on events [Dr. Campbell] observed in Britain, which has embarked on an aggressive national sodium-reduction campaign, the divide between what the medical community wants and what industry wants could be wider than it seems.

There, Dr. Campbell said many food companies said they would have difficulty meeting the voluntary salt-reduction targets published by the British Food Standards Agency. The Salt Association, which represents salt producers in that country, has also dismissed the new targets as “scientifically unsound,” and said that they could compromise food safety.

Article four: How Canada is losing the war on salt


“Sodium is a hidden, silent killer in our food supply. It’s contributing to the deaths of tens of thousands of people every year but we are largely disregarding this problem in public policy,” said Norm Campbell []. “There is an urgent need for action.”

Despite the slow progress, Dr. Campbell still believes the Sodium Working Group will come up with the right recommendations and that the government will implement a much-needed plan. The question is when that will happen.

Excessive salt consumption is causing the premature deaths of 30 Canadians a day, according to research published in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology. Cardiovascular disease kills more Canadians each year than anything but cancer and it is estimated that one in every eight cardiac events (such as heart attacks and strokes) is caused by excess sodium. Salt consumption is one of the most obvious modifiable risk factors for heart disease, since cutting salt has an almost immediate impact on blood pressure.

Thank-you to Dr. Campbell for making a difference!


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