Saturday, March 25, 2023

WHO warns against consuming too much salt?

The report, the first of its kind, by the World Health Organization (WHO) on reducing salt intake (Global report on reducing sodium intake) shows that we are far from achieving the goal of reducing sodium intake by 30% by 2025.

Sodium, although an essential nutrient, increases the risk of heart disease, such as stroke, and premature death in excess. The main source of sodium is table salt (sodium chloride), but other seasonings, such as sodium glutamate, also contain sodium. The report shows that only 5% of WHO Member States are protected by mandatory and comprehensive sodium reduction policies and 73% of WHO Member States are not fully implementing such policies.

It is estimated that the introduction of sodium reduction policies, all of which are highly effective, could save the lives of some 7 million people by 2030, as it is an important measure to achieve one of the MDG targets. Sustainable development: reducing the number of deaths from non-communicable diseases. Currently, only nine countries (Brazil, Chile, Czech Republic, Lithuania, Malaysia, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Uruguay) have comprehensive policies to reduce sodium intake.

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Tedros A. Ghebreyesus

“An unhealthy diet is one of the leading causes of death and disease globally, and excessive sodium intake is widely blamed,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “This report clarifies that most countries have not yet adopted any mandatory sodium reduction policies, leaving the population at risk of heart attacks, strokes and other health problems. WHO urged all countries to implement “best buys” for the reduction of sodium, and manufacturers to apply WHO values ​​for sodium content in foods.

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Reducing sodium requires a comprehensive approach in which strategies are implemented and the four sodium interventions that are “best buys” and go a long way to preventing noncommunicable diseases. These are the things that follow;

  • Reformulated foods that contain less salt and contain targeted sodium in foods and serving sizes.
  • Establish public food procurement procedures to limit the amount of salt or sodium in food in public institutions such as hospitals, schools, factories and nutrition houses.
  • Introduce front-of-pack labeling to help consumers select products with low sodium content.
  • Conducting communication and media campaigns that encourage behavior change to reduce salt and sodium intake.
  • Countries are encouraged to set targets for sodium in processed foods, to report consistent WHO global values ​​for sodium, and to protect through these measures.

    Mandatory sodium reduction policies are more effective, as they provide broader coverage and protect against trade-offs, while leveling the playing field among food manufacturers. As part of the report, WHO produced a sodium scoring table for the Member States, based on the ratio and number of sodium reduction initiatives implemented.

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    Who Warns Against Consuming Too Much Salt?

    baking soda (external source)

    “This important report demonstrates that countries must work urgently to implement bold government-led sodium reduction mandates to meet the global goal of reducing salt intake by 2025,” said Dr. , a nonprofit organization that works with nations to prevent 100 million deaths from cardiovascular disease over 30 years. “There are important measures and innovations, such as low sodium salts, that governments can adopt. Action must be taken, now, or more people will have to be disabled, or have fatal heart attacks and strokes that could have been prevented.”

    The average global salt intake is estimated at 10.8 grams per day, more than twice the WHO recommendation, that is, less than 5 grams of salt per day (one teaspoon). Eating too much salt is the main risk factor for death combined with food and nutrition. More and more data is available documenting the link between high sodium intake and an increased risk of other health conditions, such as stomach cancer, obesity, osteoporosis and kidney disease.

    WHO calls on Member States to promptly implement policies to reduce sodium intake and mitigate the harmful effects of excessive salt intake. WHO also encourages food manufacturers to set bold sodium reduction targets in their products.

    To read the report, see:

    Nation World News Desk
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