The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) has established the Sodium Expert Working Group to support the review and update of the sodium Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand (NRVs).

This work forms part of an ongoing review of priority NRVs, overseen by the Steering Group comprising representatives from the NHMRC, Australian Government Department of Health, and New Zealand Ministry of Health.

Members of the Sodium Expert Working Group were selected to ensure appropriate expertise in the specific nutrient, general nutrition and dietetics, nutrient deficiency and toxicity, statistics and modelling, systematic reviews, monitoring nutritional status and setting and implementing NRVs.

For further information see Committees advising on the review of Nutrient Reference Values.

Terms of reference

NHMRC has established the Sodium Expert Working Group to support the review and update of the sodium Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand (NRVs). This work forms part of an ongoing review of priority NRVs, overseen by a Steering Group comprising representatives from the NHMRC, Australian Government Department of Health, and New Zealand Ministry of Health.

The Sodium Expert Working Group will:

  1. Advise on the scope of the review of sodium NRVs, with consideration given to:
    • the currency, accuracy and relevance of the existing sodium NRVs
    • relevant international NRVs developed since the existing NRVs
    • members' expertise and knowledge of current evidence, and
    • any other information deemed relevant by NHMRC.
  2. Advise on the application of the Methodological framework for the Review of Nutrient Reference Values1 to the review.
  3. Advise on the evaluation of evidence to inform revisions to the sodium NRVs, ensuring compliance with the 2016 NHMRC Standards for Guidelines and International best- practice.
  4. Advising on updates to the sodium NRV recommendations, including:
    • developing proposed sodium NRV recommendations
    • advising on the implications of revised recommendations
    • advising on key stakeholders to be included in consultation activities
    • addressing feedback received during consultation and expert review.

The Sodium Expert Working Group will report to the Steering Group.

Appointments to the Sodium Expert Working Group will conclude on 31 December 2024.

1 Australian Government Department of Health. Methodological Framework for the Review of Nutrient Reference Values. Canberra. Commonwealth of Australia; 2020, or as varied by the Steering Group to reflect emerging best-practice.

Members

Member information and disclosure of interests (declarations)

NHMRC asks all committee members to document their interests for consideration by a CEO delegate prior to being appointed to the committee. Members are asked to update their interests during the term of their appointment or as soon as practicable after becoming aware of the interest or that there has been a change in the nature or extent of the interest. Members are asked to consider perceived interests as well as actual interests. A summary of the interests declared by each member is provided within the declarations (below).

Chair,
Senior Professor
Linda
Tapsell

School of Medicine, University of Wollongong

Relevant experience

  • Nutrition
  • Setting NRVs public health and research and chronic disease in relation to foods, nutrients and dietary patterns

Declaration

  • Past Grants received from food and agriculture research and development corporations (including Horticulture Australia, Grains Research Development Corporation, Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation, California Walnut Commission and International Tree Nut Council) and various areas of the food industry. Main research focus has been the conduct of dietary intervention trials and the assessment of evidence for effects of food intake on health
  • Provision of peer review of scientific projects and advice on directions for future nutrition research for NHMRC grants review panels, ERA panel, Australia India Strategic Research Fund, PMSEIC, and Science Advisory Committees of California Walnut Commission and McCormick Science Institute (USA)
  • Emeritus Professor, University of Wollongong – academic duties mainly in research supervision and mentoring
  • Editor and lead author of nutrition textbook, Food, Nutrition and Health (Oxford University Press)
  • Previous Editor in Chief, Nutrition and Dietetics, journal of the Dietitians Association of Australia
  • Food Standards Australia New Zealand: member, Consumer and Public Health Dialogue; FSANZ webinar and seminar presenter on nutrition and food standards 2020, 2019, 2022
  • Travel and accommodation support for provision of plenary and guest lectures at numerous scientific and professional conferences and meetings
  • Department of Health Nutrient Reference Values Advisory Committee member 2013 to 2017
  • Publication – The relationship between sodium and potassium intake and blood pressure in a sample of overweight adults 2016-2018 and related conference presentations
  • Presentations at events supported by various industry groups

Dr
Rachael
McLean

Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, University of Otago

Relevant experience

  • Nutrition
  • Setting NRVs
  • Sodium
  • Nutrient deficiency/ toxicity and monitoring nutritional status in population groups

Declaration

  • Research grant with the Ministry for Primary Industries New Zealand investigating the proportion of discretionary salt as total salt intake in New Zealand adults
  • Member of the Heart Foundation Scientific Advisory Group which reviews research grant applications
  • Contributed to Heart Foundation position statement on dietary sodium 2022
  • Involved in the development of the review of the Australian and New Zealand Nutrient Reference Values for Sodium (2013 to 16)
  • A number of scientific publications relating to dietary sodium intake
  • Invited speaker and country expert: Monitoring population salt intake as part of WHO STEPS WHO Collaborating Centre on Population Salt Reduction, The George Institute for Global Health

Emeritus Professor
Caryl
Nowson

School of Exercise and Nutrition Science, Deakin University

Relevant experience

  • Nutrition
  • Setting NRVs
  • Sodium and ageing

Declaration

  • Member Australian Division World Action on Salt and Health (AWASH) and member World Action of Salt and Health
  • Dairy Health and Nutrition Consortium (2014, 2015): reviewer for contracted academic outputs, development of study protocol
  • Funded research programs with Meat and Livestock Australia
  • Research consultancy to Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA)(2011 to 2017)
  • Member of the Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition, Deakin University and Emeritus Professor at Deakin University, the organisation that has been procured by NHMRC to conduct the evidence review on sodium. Grants have been received from George Institute for Global Health Food Policy
  • Externally funded consultancy services provided for Nous Consulting for the methodological framework for the review of Nutrient Reference Values
  • Invited speaker for Meat and Livestock Australia and Nestle Health Science
  • Lead Editor of Special Edition Nutrients: Dietary Salt and Health 2014 to 2015
  • Membership of Targets and indicators expert working group (salt) Australian Health Policy Coalition
  • Has published studies relating to sodium
  • Member of Targets and indicators expert working group (salt), Australian Health Policy Coalition
  • Consult to Victorian Health Promotion Foundation 2015: Victorian consumer survey of knowledge, attitudes and practices related to salt intake. Externally funded consultancy related to sodium/salt.
  • Received various grants pertaining to sodium.
  • Chief investigator on a number of NHMRC and Heart Foundation funding research programs related to salt reduction.

Dr
Yasmine
Probst

School of Medicine, University of Wollongong

Relevant experience

  • Nutrition
  • Dietary assessment methodology for children
  • Modelling and end user needs

Declaration

  • NHMRC Grant review panels: Panel member for the health services grants for the 2021, 2020, 2015 and 2014 rounds
  • Multiple Sclerosis Research Australia research council member. Member of the social and applied sciences review committee annually since 2018
  • NHMRC Development Grant, Health Professional and TRIP fellowships. Both fellowships were generally related to food intakes including the grouping of food items using existing food composition data
  • Multiple Sclerosis Australia Senior research fellow 2022 to 2025 addressing food for disease management
  • Travel and accommodation support to attend and national and international conference organised by the California Walnut Commission, Nuts for Life and Multiple Sclerosis Australia
  • Honoraria for healthy eating community presentations received from Multiple Sclerosis Limited
  • Research consultancy reports and presentations supported by various industry groups
  • Expert reviewer for poultry and dietary patterns (consulted via DAA) for the 2012 update of the Australian Dietary Guidelines
  • Australian Egg Nutrition Advisory Council member
  • Editorial board member Journal of Nutrition and Dietetics; Reviewer European Journal of Clinical Nutrition; Editor Nutrition and Dietetics journal Publications, conference abstracts, and media regarding sodium

Dr
Carley
Grimes

School of Exercise and Nutrition Science, Deakin University

Relevant experience

  • Nutrition
  • Sodium
  • Child nutrition and monitoring nutritional status in population groups

Declaration

  • 2014 to present Member of VicHealth Victorian Action on Salt Reduction Task-force
  • 2011 to present Member of the World Action on Salt and Health (WASH)
  • 2015 to 2019 Rapporteur for Salt Working Group within the Australian Health Policy Collaboration
  • Associate Investigator NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence. Title: "Reducing salt intake using food policy interventions" (2016 to 2022)
  • Chief Investigator on 2015 to 2019 NHMRC Partnership Projects Grant. Title: "Reducing population salt consumption in Victoria".
  • Member of Board of Editors for Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (2015 to current)
  • Reviewer of publications for BMJ Open, Pediatrics, Canadian Medical Journal, British Journal of Nutrition, Appetite, BMC Public Health, Journal of Nutrition; Co-editor of special edition in journal Nutrients: Dietary salt and health
  • Employee of Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition (IPAN), Deakin University, that has been procured by NHMRC to conduct the evidence review on sodium. Colleague of the group within IPAN that has been procured by NHMRC to conduct the sodium evidence review
  • Publications, reports, conference abstracts and media regarding sodium.

Professor
Vicki
Flood

(Member 2018 to 2022)
Faculty of Health Science, University of Sydney

Relevant experience

  • Nutrition
  • Setting NRVs and sodium