According to the World Health Organization’s first report, the world is falling behind the goal of reducing sodium intake by 30% by 2025.
All 194 WHO Member States have committed to the targets set in 2013, but only 5% have implemented comprehensive salt reduction policies, according to Thursday’s report.
“Progress was slow, and only a few countries were able to reduce the sodium intake of their populations, but none met the target,” the report said. I have.”
According to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, sodium is an essential nutrient, but too much sodium increases the risk of heart disease, stroke and premature death, killing nearly 2 million people worldwide each year.
According to the report, the estimated global average salt intake is 10.8 grams per day, more than double the WHO recommendation of less than 5 grams per day for adults.
The report assessed country implementation of salt reduction policies with a ‘Sodium Country Scorecard’ ranging from 1 (lowest level of implementation) to 4 (highest level).
According to the WHO, only nine countries – Brazil, Chile, Czech Republic, Lithuania, Malaysia, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Spain and Uruguay – scored 4, which means they have comprehensive salt reduction policies in place. was.
The United States scored 3 out of 4 for having at least one mandatory sodium policy and a declaration of sodium in prepackaged foods. About 22% of Member States had this score.
“You can reduce your sodium intake by deciding to add less salt to the foods you cook and by purchasing foods with lower sodium content,” Branca said in the report. “But some public policy needs to make this choice easier.”
Dr. Tom Frieden said the report “will help countries implement ambitious and mandatory government-led salt reduction policies to achieve the global goal of reducing salt consumption by 2025.” It shows that there is an urgent need to address For more than 30 years, Frieden is president and CEO of Resolve to Save Lives, a non-profit organization working with countries to prevent 100 million deaths from cardiovascular disease, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. is also the former director of
“The world needs to act, and now or more people will experience disabling, fatal but preventable heart attacks and strokes.”
Dr. Laura Cobb, director of nutrition policy and oversight at Resolve to Save Lives, says the United States has successfully implemented salt reduction initiatives with mandatory school feeding guidelines., and she I hope the national policy will be expanded.
“The FDA has set voluntary rather than mandatory targets for sodium rebalancing,” she said.
That goal is designed to help reduce average sodium intake by about 12%, from about 3,400 milligrams per day to 3,000 milligrams per day, according to the agency.
“It has the potential to save hundreds of thousands of lives,” Cobb said. “Like any initiative, its success will depend on how much the U.S. government and other nonprofits and civil society organizations actually hold industry accountable.”
Cobb also said the United States has work to do when it comes to food labeling and marketing.
“We don’t have blanket restrictions on marketing, especially on unhealthy foods, and it’s been discussed, but certainly no front table,” she said. Labels on the front of packages tell consumers which products contain excessive amounts of sodium, sugar, and fat.
WHO urges countries to readjust processed foods to reduce salt content, establish policies to limit sodium-rich foods in public institutions, and help consumers choose low-sodium products It called for implementing sodium-related interventions, such as displaying it on the front of packages.
Such policies could save an estimated 7 million lives globally by 2030 and reduce sodium intake by more than 20%, bringing us closer to the target set for 2025, WHO said. increase.
“I think it’s time for countries to step up,” said Cobb. “We hope this report will serve as a call to action so that heart disease can be stopped before it starts.”