WHO Report Shows Global Sodium Intake Reduction Off-Track to Reach Target by 2025

The World Health Organization (WHO) published a first-of-its-kind global report on sodium intake reduction that shows the world is off-track to achieve its global target of reducing sodium intake by 30% by 2025.[0] Consuming an excessive amount of salt is the leading cause of fatalities related to diet and nutrition, despite sodium being a necessary nutrient.[1] Table salt (sodium chloride) is the primary source of sodium, however, it can also be found in other condiments like sodium glutamate.[2]

According to the report, only 5% of WHO Member States have mandatory and comprehensive sodium reduction policies in place, while 73% of WHO Member States do not possess a full range of implementation of such policies.[3] The World Health Organization (WHO) advises that the daily intake of salt should not exceed five grams (or one teaspoon) for the average individual.[4] However, the global average intake is estimated to be more than double, around 10.8 grams.[3]

At present, nine nations – Brazil, Chile, Czech Republic, Lithuania, Malaysia, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Spain, and Uruguay – have implemented a set of suggested measures to decrease sodium consumption.[2] Dr. Tom Frieden, President and CEO of Resolve to Save Lives, a not-for-profit organization working with countries to prevent 100 million deaths from cardiovascular disease over 30 years, said: “This important report demonstrates that countries must work urgently to implement ambitious, mandatory, government-led sodium reduction policies to meet the global target of reducing salt consumption by 2025. There are proven measures that governments can implement and important innovations, such as low sodium salts. The world needs action, and now, or many more people will experience disabling or deadly—but preventable—heart attacks and strokes.”[5]

The World Health Organization is urging Member States to take immediate action to reduce sodium intake and counteract the adverse effects caused by excessive salt consumption. Adopting mandatory policies and utilizing the World Health Organization's (WHO) “best buy” interventions regarding sodium can help to prevent noncommunicable diseases and should be part of a comprehensive approach to reducing sodium intake. These include reformulating processed foods to contain less salt, establishing policies to limit sodium-rich foods in public institutions and including front-of-package labeling that helps consumers select products lower in sodium.[4]

A “Sodium Country Score Card” was used in the report to assess the implementation of sodium-reduction policies, ranging from 1 (the lowest level) to 4 (the highest level).[3]

0. “WHO confirms global target to reduce sodium intake by 30 per cent by 2025” Euro Weekly News, 8 Mar. 2023, https://euroweeklynews.com/2023/03/08/who-confirms-global-target-to-reduce-sodium-intake-by-30-per-cent-by-2025

1. “Countries will not meet salt reduction targets to protect health, says WHO” NewsChain, 9 Mar. 2023, https://www.newschainonline.com/news/financial-news/countries-will-not-meet-salt-reduction-targets-to-protect-health-says-who-324841

2. “A pinch (less) of salt can save lives, WHO says in new report” UN News, 9 Mar. 2023, https://news.un.org/en/story/2023/03/1134372

3. “The world is consuming way too much salt and outcome could be dire if we don't cut back: WHO report” erienewsnow.com, 9 Mar. 2023, https://www.erienewsnow.com/story/48520196/the-world-is-consuming-way-too-much-salt-and-outcome-could-be-dire-if-we-dont-cut-back-who-report

4. “‘Massive efforts' are needed to reduce salt intake and protect lives, World Health Organization says” KCRA Sacramento, 9 Mar. 2023, https://www.kcra.com/article/massive-efforts-are-needed-to-reduce-salt-intake-world-health-organization-says/43256433

5. “Massive efforts needed to reduce salt intake and protect lives” World Health Organization, 8 Mar. 2023, https://www.who.int/news/item/09-03-2023-massive-efforts-needed-to-reduce-salt-intake-and-protect-lives

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