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Shaking the Salt Habit: Sodium – Hypertension Control in China

The Problem

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in China, and was responsible for 3.5 million deaths in 2008 alone. High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a major contributor to that toll. In rural China, where most of the country’s 1.3 billion people live, 17 percent have hypertension, but only 3 percent have their condition controlled. As a result, hypertension leads to significant illness, disability and death in China. Too much sodium in the diet is a key risk factor for hypertension and daily sodium intake in China is well above the WHO recommended limit. Dietary change and blood pressure control is needed to enhance health and save lives.

The CDC Response

Where We Work

  • China at the national, provincial, and local levels

Key Partners

  • China CDC
  • China Ministry of Health
  • Shan Dong Province CDC
  • Georgia Institute
  • National Institutes of Health
  • Ministries of Health
  • Univ. of North Carolina – Chapel Hill

In collaboration with China-CDC, US CDC co-sponsored The First Symposium on Salt Reduction and Health in China. To provide a better understanding of the problem and potential solutions, US CDC is participating in analysis of data from the China National Health and Nutrition Survey on dietary sodium and potassium content, examining its sources. US CDC is also collaborating with US National Institutes of Health (National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute), and other relevant partners to develop, implement and evaluate sodium reduction within The China Rural Health Initiative in northern China.


US CDC is collaborating in the evaluation of three potential approaches to sodium reduction: community health education; high-risk patient education via village doctors; and policy and environmental change to make a commercial salt substitute available to households through village convenience stores. US CDC is also starting work with China-CDC and others to plan and implement the Shan Dong Province Project, led by the Shan Dong Provincial Government and Ministry of Health, China. This effort is intended to support salt/sodium reduction and hypertension control throughout the province.

pouring salt

Vision for Growth

US CDC will strengthen the sustainability and impact of these efforts by providing trainings for Chinese health professionals on conducting investigations and surveillance, and implementing policy designed to tackle the growing challenge of noncommunicable disease.

  • Page last reviewed: April 9, 2013
  • Page last updated: April 9, 2013
  • Content source: Global Health
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