Countries Must Make ‘Massive Effort’ To Reduce Salt Intake: WHO
NEW DELHI, (IANS) – The World Health Organization has called on countries to make “massive efforts” to reduce people’s salt intake that can prevent the risk of heart problems, stroke, and cancers.
In a first-of-its-kind global report on sodium intake reduction, the global health body noted that the world is off-track to achieve its global target of reducing sodium intake by 30 percent by 2025.
The report shows that only 5 percent of countries are protected by mandatory and comprehensive sodium reduction policies, while 73 percent, including India, lack a full range of implementation of such policies.
Implementing highly cost-effective sodium reduction policies could save an estimated seven million lives globally by 2030, the WHO said.
Sodium is an essential nutrient, but eating too much salt makes it the top risk factor for diet and nutrition-related deaths. The main source of sodium is table salt but it is also contained in other condiments such as sodium glutamate.
The global average salt intake is estimated to be 10.8 grams per day, more than double the WHO recommendation of fewer than 5 grams of salt per day (one teaspoon).
Several studies have revealed that increased intake of salt in food items can raise the risk of premature death. Emerging evidence also links high sodium intake and increased risk of other health conditions such as gastric cancer, obesity, osteoporosis, and kidney disease.
Meanwhile, the WHO report also called on manufacturers to implement the WHO benchmarks for sodium content in food.
Mandatory sodium reduction policies are more effective, it said, as they achieve broader coverage and safeguard against commercial interests while providing a level playing field for food manufacturers.