China World Technology Medical Equipment Service Group
The World Health Organization (WHO)'s first Global Report on Reducing Sodium Intake shows that the world is on track to meet the global target of reducing sodium intake by 30% by 2025.
Sodium is an essential nutrient, but consuming too much can increase the risk of heart disease, stroke and premature death. The main source of sodium is table salt (sodium chloride), but it can also be found in other seasonings such as monosodium glutamate. According to the report, only 5% of WHO Member States are covered by mandatory comprehensive sodium reduction policies, and 73% of Member States do not fully implement such policies.
An estimated 7 million lives could be saved globally by 2030 if cost-effective sodium reduction policies were implemented. This is an important part of taking action to achieve the SDG target on reducing NCD deaths. But currently, only nine countries (Brazil, Chile, Czech Republic, Lithuania, Malaysia, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Spain, and Uruguay) have recommended a comprehensive policy for reducing sodium intake.
"Unhealthy diets are a leading cause of death and disease globally, and excess sodium intake is one of the leading culprits," said WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. Most countries have yet to implement any mandatory sodium reduction measures, the report says Policies that put their people at risk of heart attacks, strokes and other health problems. WHO is calling on all countries to implement 'best buys' sodium reduction measures and on manufacturers to implement WHO's benchmarks for sodium in food. "
A comprehensive approach to reducing sodium includes mandatory policies and four of WHO's sodium-related 'best buys' interventions that contribute substantially to the prevention of NCDs, including:
Reformulate food to reduce salt and set goals for sodium in foods and meals
Develop public food procurement policies that limit high-salt or high-sodium foods in public institutions such as hospitals, schools, workplaces, and nursing homes
Add front-of-pack labels to help consumers choose low-sodium products
Behavioral change advocacy and mass media campaigns to reduce salt/sodium consumption
Countries are encouraged to set sodium targets for processed foods based on WHO's global sodium benchmarks and implement them through these policies.
Mandatory sodium reduction policies are more effective because they allow for wider coverage and guard against commercial interests, while leveling the playing field for food producers. In the report, WHO developed country sodium scorecards for Member States based on the type and amount of sodium reduction policies in place.
Dr Tom Frieden, President and CEO of Resolve to Save Lives, a nonprofit organization that works with countries to prevent 100 million deaths from cardiovascular disease over 30 years, said: Urgent action to implement ambitious, government-led, mandatory sodium reduction policies to meet the global target of reducing salt consumption by 2025. Proven measures are already available for governments to adopt, along with some important innovations , such as low sodium salt, etc. The world must act now, or many more people will suffer preventable disabling or fatal heart attacks and strokes.”
Global average salt intake is estimated at 10.8 grams per day, more than double the WHO recommended daily salt intake of less than 5 grams (one teaspoon). Excessive salt intake is the leading risk factor for diet- and nutrition-related death. There is growing evidence that high sodium intake is linked to an increased risk of stomach cancer, obesity, osteoporosis and other health problems, including kidney disease.
WHO calls on Member States to immediately implement policies to reduce sodium intake and mitigate the harmful effects of excessive salt consumption. WHO is also calling on food manufacturers to set ambitious sodium reduction targets for their products.
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