World to miss goal on cutting sodium intake, says WHO

Source: The post is based on the article “World to miss goal on cutting sodium intake, says WHO” published in Livemint on 10th March 2023.

What is the News?

The World Health Organization(WHO) has released a report titled “Global report on sodium intake reduction”.

What are the key findings of the report?

Sodium, an essential nutrient, increases the risk of heart disease, stroke and premature death when consumed in excess.

The main source of sodium is table salt (sodium chloride) but it is also a part of other condiments such as sodium glutamate which is naturally found in some foods and is also used as a flavour enhancer.

Implementing highly cost-effective sodium reduction policies could save an estimated 7 million lives globally by 2030.

Progress on reducing sodium intake: The World is off-track to achieve its global target of reducing sodium intake by 30% by 2025.

– The global average salt intake is estimated to be 10.8 grams per day, more than double the WHO recommendation of fewer than 5 grams of salt per day (one teaspoon).

– Currently, only 5% of WHO member states are protected by mandatory and comprehensive sodium reduction policies and 73% of members lack the full range of implementation of such policies.

India has a mandatory declaration of sodium on pre-packaged food but no other mandatory measure.

Recommendations: A comprehensive approach to sodium reduction includes adopting mandatory policies and WHO’s four “best buy” interventions related with sodium which greatly contribute to preventing non-communicable diseases. These include:

– Reformulating foods to contain less salt, and setting targets for the amount of sodium in foods and meals.

– Establishing public food procurement policies to limit salt or sodium-rich foods in public institutions such as hospitals, schools, workplaces and nursing homes.

– Front-of-package labelling that helps consumers select products lower in sodium.

– Behaviour change communication and mass media campaigns to reduce salt/sodium consumption.

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