A CAMPAIGN is being launched today to reduce the amount of salt eaten by people in the North-East.

The Food Standards Agency campaign hopes to highlight the risks of eating too much salt, which can lead to high blood pressure and, in turn, heart disease and strokes.

There are more than 2,100 premature deaths a year in the North-East caused by coronary heart disease.

High blood pressure is a cause or contributing factor in 170,000 deaths a year in England and at least 26 million people take in more than the recommended daily limit of six grammes of salt.

Men are eating the most, with a daily average of 11 grammes of salt, while women consume an average 8.1 grammes a day.

Sir John Krebs, chairman of the Food Standards Agency, said: "Everybody has got used to eating too much salt. We want to encourage everyone to see how they can reduce the salt they eat.

"By cutting back on adding salt to food at home and when eating out, as well as looking at what's on the labels of processed foods, it's possible for people to make positive health choices."

The campaign will be fronted by Sid the slug, who was developed by Jim Henson's Creature Shop.