Sunday, 14 July, 2024
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Sodium content policy change can save 7m lives – WHO

Eating too much salt is killing nearly 2m people every year, and unless global policies are swiftly implemented to limit sodium content in processed foods, there will be another 7m preventable deaths by 2030, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said in a new report.

Unhealthy diets are a major global health challenge, and sodium’s link to high blood pressure and cardiovascular diseases makes it one of the major contributors to nutrition-related deaths.

Health Policy Watch reports that the average sodium intake globally is more than double the recommended 5g, or one teaspoon, daily limit, according to the report.

“That leaves people at risk for heart attack and stroke,” said Dr Tom Frieden, director of Resolve to Save Lives, a non-profit organisation that works to prevent deaths from cardiovascular diseases. “The world needs action now, or many more people will experience disabling or deadly, but preventable heart attacks and strokes.”

All 194 WHO member states have committed to reducing national sodium intake by 30% by 2025.

However, WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the chances of reaching the 2025 target were minimal. “The world is off-track,” he said.

Only nine countries have fully implemented best-practice policies, leaving more than two-thirds of the world unprotected by policies limiting sodium content in food products, according to the report, which lists a series of so-called “best buy” policies of easily implemented and affordable ways to reduce sodium intake.

These recommendations were first endorsed by member states in 2017, yet few have implemented any of them.

By October 2022, just 5% of member states had implemented the recommended two mandatory sodium reduction policies. Another 22% had implemented their first mandatory policy. The remaining 73% have no hard restrictions on sodium content.

 

Global Salt Report

 

Health Policy Watch article – Excessive Sodium Intake Causing Millions of Preventable Deaths Annually (Open access)

 

See more from MedicalBrief archives:

 

Sodium restriction in heart failure should be taken with a pinch of salt

 

High-salt intake may double the risk of heart failure

 

Salt substitutes slash risk of CVD, death – Chinese-Australian meta-analysis

 

Contentious study shows reduced salt consumption not necessary for cardiac health

 

 

 

 

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