In its first report released WHO claimed that excessive sodium in unhealthy diets leads to death and disease globally this death toll keeps rising each year.
The report clearly shows that the world is “off track”, in order to achieve its global target of reduction in sodium intake WHO wants its goal to be achieved by the year 2025.
Sodium is considered to be the most essential part of one’s diet and health regime but its excess intake can lead to a risk of heart disease, stroke and premature death.
While table salt is the main source of Sodium Chloride this particular nutrient is also included in other condiments known as sodium glutamate.
WHO’s global report states that implementing cost-effective sodium reduction policies could save 7 million lives in the world by 2030. However, only nine countries – Brazil, Chile, Czech Republic, Lithuania, Malaysia, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Spain and Uruguay – have a comprehensive package of recommended policies to reduce sodium intake.
On a daily basis, the global average salt intake is estimated to be 10.8 grams per day, which is more than double the WHO recommendation of less than 5 grams of salt per day (which is one tablespoon).
WHO has called upon countries to implement the ‘Best Buys’, for the reduction in sodium and the manufacturers who implement the WHO benchmarks for sodium content in food being consumed by people.
The health agency’s four “best buy” interventions to reduce sodium, which could contribute to preventing noncommunicable diseases are:
- Reformulating foods to contain less salt, and setting targets for the amount of sodium in foods and meals.
- Establishing public food procurement policies to limit salt or sodium-rich foods in public institutions such as hospitals, schools, workplaces and nursing homes.
- Front-of-package labelling helps consumers select products lower in sodium.
- Behaviour changes communication and mass media campaigns to reduce salt/sodium consumption.
More evidence has emerged linking high sodium intake with increased risk of other health conditions such as gastric cancer, obesity, osteoporosis and kidney disease.
The amount of dietary salt (sodium chloride) consumed is an important determinant of blood pressure levels and hypertension and overall cardiovascular risk. A salt intake of less than 5 grams (approximately 2g sodium) per person per day is recommended by
WHO for the prevention of cardiovascular diseases, the leading cause of death globally.
However, data from various countries indicate that most populations are consuming much more salt than recommended.
In many high-income countries, approximately 75% of salt in the diet comes from processed foods and meals prepared outside the home. In many low- and middle-income countries, most sodium consumption comes from salt added at home in cooking and at the table or through condiments such as fish sauce and soy sauce. Decreasing dietary salt intake from the current global levels of 9–12 grams per day to the recommended level of less than 5 grams per day would have a major impact on blood pressure and cardiovascular disease, averting up to 2.5 million deaths due to heart attacks and stroke worldwide each year.
A salt intake of less than 5 grams (approximately 2g sodium) per person per day is recommended by WHO for the prevention of cardiovascular diseases, the leading cause of death globally. Salt reduction strategies are a “best buy” in the prevention of NCDs.
This above statement is issued by the World Health Organization showcasing their concern for global citizens on the amount of their sodium intake which is alarming because people are consuming sodium on a higher level in their diet.
Former top US health official, Tom Frieden, President and CEO of the group, said countries must work urgently to implement ambitious, mandatory, government-led policies to meet the global target of reducing salt consumption by 2025.
Such innovations as low sodium salt alongside other proven measures are among a set of tools governments can use, he said. To help raise awareness, Resolve to Save Lives recently published a global nutrition database for packaged foods, which includes data from 25 countries.
FAQ for the audience –
Tell us the amount of Sodium you consume in your daily diet.