In light of recent warnings about Canadians' skyrocketing sodium intake, the government announced Thursday that it will form a working group focused on salt reduction.

High sodium intake contributes to high blood pressure, strokes and heart disease. An April 2007 report from Statistics Canada found that most people consumemore thandouble the sodiumrequired.The average Canadian is estimated to consume in excess of 3,100 milligrams of sodium each day, while Health Canada recommends an intake of about 1,200 to 1,500 milligrams daily for healthy adults.

Health Minister Tony Clement said in a release that the new Sodium Working Group is "a major step in helping Canadians improve their health, and the health of their families."

The group will be composed of experts from across the country and is expected to hold its first meeting by the end of the year to start looking at ways to decrease sodium consumption in food products.

Clementsaid the new group will be composed of experts from across the country and is expected to hold a meeting by the end of the year to begin looking at ways to decrease sodium in the Canadian diet.

Salt intake can be limited on a personal level by choosing foods without added salts, opting for fat-free or low-fat dairy products and by seasoning foods with herbs and spices instead of salt.

With files from the Canadian Press