WHO calls for an effort to reduce salt consumption in the world

The World Health Organization (WHO) published a report on Thursday on reducing sodium intake and showing that the world is far from reaching the goal of reduce salt consumption by 30% by 2025.

According to the WHO, sodium is an essential nutrient but increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, and premature death when taken in excess. The main source of sodium is table salt (sodium chloride), but it is also contained in other seasonings such as sodium glutamate.

The report shows that only 3% of the world population is protected by mandatory sodium reduction policies and 73% of WHO Member States lack these regulations.

For this reason, the WHO stressed that the policy implementation to reduce sodium are highly cost-effective because they could save the lives of nearly seven million people worldwide by 2030. In fact, this action is essential to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal target to reduce deaths from noncommunicable diseases .

But nowadays, only nine countries (Brazil, Chile, Czech Republic, Lithuania, Malaysia, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, spain and Uruguay) have a comprehensive package of recommended policies to reduce salt intake.

One in five deaths in the world is associated with a poor diet

unhealthy diets

For this reason, the director general of the WHO, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesusassured that "unhealthy diets are one of the leading 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 not yet adopted any mandatory sodium reduction, leaving its population 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."

In addition, this report includes a number of recommendations such as reformulating foods to contain less salt; and establish public food procurement policies to limit those rich in salt or sodium in public institutions such as hospitals, schools, workplaces, and nursing homes.

Along with them, the WHO recommends front-of-pack labeling to help consumers select products with low sodium content and campaigns in the media to lower this intake. world average salt intake It is estimated at 10.8 grams per day, more than double the WHO recommendation that should be below 5 grams of salt per day (one teaspoon).

The World Health Organization recalled that excessive salt consumption is implicated in diet and nutrition related deaths. In fact, scientific evidence documents links between high sodium intake and increased risk of other health conditions such as gastric cancer, obesity, osteoporosis, and kidney disease.