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Public health action 'Too much salt is harmful'

Partner Institute: 
Institute of Public Health of the Republic of Slovenia, Ljubljana
Survey no: 
Tit Albreht
Health Policy Issues: 
Public Health, Prevention, Others
Health promotion
Current Process Stages
Idea Pilot Policy Paper Legislation Implementation Evaluation Change
Implemented in this survey? no no no no yes no no


Slovenia has achieved a significant reduction in cardiovascular morbidity and mortality over the past 25 years. This has been the result of various processes and interventions. However, when comparing Slovenia to the most developed countries in the EU, there still is a gap that needs to be bridged. One of the determinants of that gap is the excess intake of salt in the average Slovenian diet. A public campaign was launched in order to reduce salt intake through clear public health messages.

Purpose of health policy or idea

The objectives of this intervention are raising awareness about salt intake through clear messages and, as a result, assisting in reducing salt intake. The campaign is rolled-out as a typical public health intervention through a raising-public-awareness campaign. Its target population is the general public as it addresses everyone and it should help in reducing the salt intake and its detrimental consequences.

Main points

Main objectives

The main objective of this campaign is to reduce the salt intake of the general population in Slovenia and thus achieve a reduction of its negative consequences, primarily of arterial hypertension and its negative effects. The intermediate policy objective is raising awareness about the actual - but poorly perceived - salt intake through different typical meals. The campaign uses different means of communicaton (such as internet fora) and an internet site ( for dissemination of positive public health messages and provides the general public with additional information.

Type of incentives

This intervention is a public health campaign and does not bear clear financial or non-financial incentives. The main instrument is the provision of clear public health messages and the dissemination of information.

Groups affected

general population, primary health care professionals, public health professionals

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Characteristics of this policy

Degree of Innovation traditional neutral innovative
Degree of Controversy consensual consensual highly controversial
Structural or Systemic Impact marginal neutral fundamental
Public Visibility very low high very high
Transferability strongly system-dependent rather system-neutral system-neutral

Political and economic background

In sequence, health policy in Slovenia has been addressing a number of health determinants, which formed the most important public health and health care priorities. Following this reasoning, it was expected that salt intake would become one of those issues that are addressed more comprehensively, as it is an important health determinant within lifestyle.

Complies with

National public health priorities

Purpose and process analysis

Current Process Stages

Idea Pilot Policy Paper Legislation Implementation Evaluation Change
Implemented in this survey? no no no no yes no no

Origins of health policy idea

The idea was generated by the community of public health professionals and got a quick response from health policy-makers. As cardiovascular diseases still are a main cause of mortality and morbidity in the economically active population, they remain an important priority, although their prevalence is declining. Hypertension, as a single risk factor and a disease in its own right, needs to be controlled better on a population level and in that sense salt intake is an important risk factor. The most suitable way to approach the entire population is through a public campaign that includes modern means of communication.

There has been excellent collaboration between health policy-makers and the public health community in designing this public health intervention.

Initiators of idea/main actors

  • Government
  • Scientific Community

Stakeholder positions

There has been an overall consensus among the stakeholders on the development of this public health intervention. Professional leadership was provided by the community of public health professionals.

Actors and positions

Description of actors and their positions
Governmentvery supportivevery supportive strongly opposed
Scientific Community
Public health communityvery supportivevery supportive strongly opposed

Actors and influence

Description of actors and their influence

Governmentvery strongvery strong none
Scientific Community
Public health communityvery strongvery strong none
Government, Public health community

Positions and Influences at a glance

Graphical actors vs. influence map representing the above actors vs. influences table.

Adoption and implementation

The campaign is run as a direct promotional activity where messages are sent via different communication channels - posters, tv spots and internet sites.

There is a website - (ne soli = don't add salt), which is promoting the campaign and explaining how we ingest exaggerated quantities of salt in different meals.The webpage brings information about salt, its content in food, means of reducing salt intake, a salt 'calculator' and a forum. Additional information are presented through a media centre. The campaign is a part of the National Action Plan on Reduced Salt Intake adopted in June 2010. The promotional campaign will be on from 6 October 2010 until 28 February 2011. Parallel activities are being conducted in co-ordination with the food industry to gradually reduce the addition of salt in different processed foods.

Expected outcome

This intervention intends to reduce the burden of hypertension and thus the mordibity and mortality caused by cardiovascular disease through better and voluntary control of an important risk factor, that is salt intake, for cardiovascular disease.


Sources of Information

1. Project documentation on the national promotion campaign ('Prevec soli skodi' - Too much salt is harmful).

2. Website of the campaign -

Author/s and/or contributors to this survey

Tit Albreht

Suggested citation for this online article

Tit Albreht. "Public health action 'Too much salt is harmful'". Health Policy Monitor, October 2010. Available at