A report published this Thursday by the World Health Organization (WHO) concludes that most countries are far from reducing sodium consumption by up to 30% (present mainly in salt table) among its inhabitants, the objective set by the organization for the year 2025.
Excessive sodium intake raises the risk of heart disease, stroke, and premature death, although links to other conditions such as gastric cancer, obesity, osteoporosis, and kidney disease have been documented in recent years.
The organization calculates that the average intake of salt worldwide is 10.8 grams per day, which is more than double the dose of 5 grams recommended by the WHO.
Currently, only nine countries – Brazil, Chile, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Malaysia, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Spain and Uruguay – have implemented the measures recommended by the WHO.
“Most countries have yet to adopt laws that require reducing the amount of sodium in food, leaving their citizens at the mercy of heart attacks, strokes and other serious health problems,” the organization’s director general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
Companies in the food sector were asked by the Ethiopian expert to apply the WHO reference values for sodium content in their products.
The World Health Organization (WHO) calls for a reduction in salt consumption in the world because high salt intake has been linked to a range of health problems.
These include high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, and stomach cancer. Consuming too much salt can lead to an increase in blood pressure, which in turn puts a strain on the heart and blood vessels, leading to cardiovascular problems.
The WHO recommends that adults consume no more than 5 grams of salt per day (equivalent to approximately one teaspoon). However, many people consume much more salt than this, often without realizing it. This is because salt is added to many processed and packaged foods, as well as restaurant meals.
Reducing salt consumption can have a significant impact on public health, as it can help to prevent and manage non-communicable diseases.
The WHO recommends that governments, food manufacturers, and individuals take steps to reduce salt intake, such as reducing the salt content in processed foods, choosing lower-salt options, and using other herbs and spices to flavour food instead of salt.
Rising disease worldwide
For this reason, the director general of the WHO, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, assured that “unhealthy diets are one of the main causes of death and disease worldwide, and excessive sodium intake is one of the main culprits.”
In fact, he added, “this report shows that most countries have yet to adopt any mandatory sodium reduction policies, leaving their populations at risk for heart disease, stroke and other health problems.
“WHO calls on all countries to implement ‘best buys’ for sodium reduction, and manufacturers to implement WHO benchmarks for sodium content in foods.”
The director general of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has affirmed that “unhealthy diets are one of the main causes of death and disease worldwide, and excessive sodium intake one of the main culprits.”
Some recommendations proposed by the report are:
- Reformulate foods to contain less salt and set goals for the amount of partner in foods and servings.
- Establish public food purchasing policies to limit foods high in salt or sodium in public institutions such as hospitals.
- Introduce front-of-pack labelling to help consumers select low-sodium products
- Conduct communication campaigns in the media and outreach that promote behaviour change to reduce salt and sodium intake
The report estimates that the global salt intake is 10.8 grams per day, more than double the recommended amount.
“This important report demonstrates that countries must work urgently to implement ambitious and mandatory government-led sodium reduction policies to meet the global goal of reducing salt consumption by 2025,” said the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Tom Frieden.
Thus, the WHO encourages countries to set sodium content goals for food processes, in line with the WHO global sodium reference points and enforce them to try to reduce consumption by 30% by 2025.
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