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WHO says world needs to cut back on salt intake

By Caitlin Snow Mar 13, 2023 | 6:00 AM

Source: WHO Facebook

The global intake of salt appears to be getting out of hand. The essential nutrient tastes good but can cause a number of health problems.

The World Health Organization says we off-track for our global target of reducing our salt intake by 30% by 2025.

“Unhealthy diets are a leading cause of death and disease globally, and excessive sodium intake is one of the main culprits,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General.

A report from the WHO says it increases the risk of heart disease, stroke and premature death when eaten too much. More evidence is emerging documenting links between high sodium intake and increased risk of other health conditions such as gastric cancer, obesity, osteoporosis and kidney disease.

The WHO’s “best buy” interventions include:
-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 that helps consumers select products lower in sodium
-Behaviour change communication and mass media campaigns to reduce salt/sodium consumption

On average we eat about 10 grams a day, when less than 5 (one teaspoon) is recommended.

“This important report demonstrates that countries must work urgently to implement ambitious, mandatory, government-led sodium reduction policies to meet the global target of reducing salt consumption by 2025,” said Dr Tom Frieden, President and CEO of Resolve to Save Lives, a not-for-profit organization working with countries to prevent 100 million deaths from cardiovascular disease over 30 years. “There are proven measures that governments can implement and important innovations, such as low sodium salts. The world needs action, and now, or many more people will experience disabling or deadly—but preventable—heart attacks and strokes.”

The WHO says, if we reduce the amount we consume now, an estimated 7 million lives could be saved , by 2030.


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