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Salt Reduction

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This online sodium management course gives students the knowledge and strategies to promote salt reduction.

In this POLHN self-paced program, you will learn about why high salt intake is such a large problem, and how to take action on it.

This course begins with explaining the physiology behind sodium's effect on the body, followed by an explanation of sodium uses in everyday life and the consequences. Finally, you will learn about the best ways to implement salt reduction strategies.

Key Features of the Course

After completing this online salt reduction course, students will be able to:

  • Identify foods that are high in sodium
  • Better understand the chemistry of how high salt consumption can lead to non-communicable diseases
  • Employ strategies to reduce the burden of cardiovascular diseases related to high sodium intake
  • Implement projects that will encourage reduced salt availability and intake


Salt intake is known to be very high in most parts of the world, well above the WHO recommended maximum. Salt is known to contribute to high blood pressure which is a risk factor for developing cardiovascular diseases such as strokes, heart attacks and chronic kidney disease among others. Cardiovascular disease, being the leading cause of death around the world, is placing a huge burden on health systems, especially in the Pacific region. It is important to realise the magnitude of this problem, how it works, and how to take action. After completing this course, you will gain an understanding of how high salt intake contributes to several potentially fatal diseases, action that you can take to decrease your own salt intake to healthy levels, and what can be done in public health, introducing programmes to alter society's intake of salt. Salt intake requires personal change and public action: learn how to undertake both to reduce the burden of disease!
Module 1 will give you a brief introduction to each of the themes for the rest of the course. Module 1 touches on aspects of salt and sodium, epidemiology, cardiovascular disease, clinical implications of high salt intake and public health actions to reduce the burden of disease, with a focus on Pacific islands. By the end of module 1 you should have an understanding of why we are concerned about high salt intake, what can be done, and an understanding of the details being covered in coming modules. All of the material in module 1 is explained in more depth in other modules.
This module is designed to teach you about the physiology of sodium within the body. You will learn what changes within the body at a molecular and cellular level to contribute to increased risk of the signs, symptoms and diseases which are linked to salt intake. This will also cover some aspects of physiology and nutrient intake which counterbalance disease.Module 1+ is not necessary for full completion of the course, but it will provide a deeper understanding of the body chemistry which links salt intake to various diseases. It is most appropriate for someone with a basic prior knowledge of human anatomy and physiology, but the fundamental themes from this module are also described in later modules.
Module 2 discusses the ways that you can ensure you consume a healthy amount of salt. With a focus on the Pacific environment, the module will cover the recommendations for maximum daily salt intake, and strategies to avoid exceeding this. Some common myths about salt intake are also dispelled.This module provides some practical ways to alter your diet to maintain proper nutrition and good flavours but keeping a healthy level of salt, some lifestyle changes, and also teaches about how to accurately read nutrition labels. Some extra material is made available which gives details of the amount of salt in specific foods found around the Pacific islands.
Module 3 explores the conditions that are associated with salt intake in more detail, considering the processes which lead to the conditions, and underlying causes. Some points about how to manage the burden of these diseases are discussed, from the personal level to those which may require intervention from a health system.This module builds on the material from module 1, but can be easily understood without knowledge of human physiology.
This module considers salt intake and public health, working through some strategies to implement projects that will encourage reduced salt intake and availability. This is a methodical description of the WHO SHAKE Technical Package for Salt Reduction, but extended to examine some examples of successful interventions, and details of some interventions in the Pacific islands are presented. Some resources to help begin a salt reduction strategy are presented and how to seek help for this, including some important stakeholders in salt reduction programmes.
Important: In order to access the completion certificate, the students need to complete the feedback, course evaluation and survey forms. Please click on the following links to submit these forms.

How It Works

Study Material

This self-paced course has been designed in a manner that enhances understanding of the core concepts and provides easy to access learning materials. The course uses a range of study material such as pre-recorded videos, lecture slides, quizzes and assignments, and is developed by a team of dedicated health education experts.

Getting Help

Connect with other students through the discussion forum, where you can easily discuss the course or debate the ideas. Need more help? Your instructors are also available online to answer any questions you might have.

Extend Your Career with a Verified Certificate

POLHN self-paced courses are recognised by Pacific Ministries of Health. Once you have successfully completed the course, you will receive an official certificate. This certificate can be used for credit to gain CPD points.

Course Questions & Answers

Course Summary

Course code: Salt-reduction
Average module length: 4 weeks
Total course time: 4 hours per week
Number of modules: 5
Institution: POLHN
Subject: Salt reduction
Language: English
Mode: Self-paced
Status: Ongoing

Course Author

Pacific NCDs and Health Through the Life Course

Division of Pacific Technical Support

World Health Organisation | Division of Pacific Technical Support | Suva, Fiji

POLHN has dedicated public health professionals in its DPS research team who have decade long experiences in Health Security and Emergencies, NCDs and Health Through the Life course, and Health Systems.

Course Focal Point

Pacific NCDs and Health Through the Life Course

Technical Support

POLHN IT Support Team

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