WHO Call on reducing Salt Intake , editorial 13 March, 2023.

WHO Call on reducing Salt Intake 

Salt is essential for human body, but too much of it can damage the body.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Thursday 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 per cent by 2025.

The report shows that only 5 per cent countries are protected by mandatory and comprehensive sodium reduction policies, while 73 per cent, including India, lack 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 (sodium chloride), 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 less 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.

The need of the hour is to reduce the salt intake for a healthier humanity, and experts should raise its intake.