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Shocking Report: World Falls Short in Reducing Salt Intake, Putting Lives at Risk

Image by Marek from Pixabay 

The latest report from the World Health Organization (WHO) is alarming: the world is not on track to meet its target of reducing sodium intake by 30% by 2025. Excessive salt intake, which is mainly found in table salt and other condiments, increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, and premature death. But only 5% of WHO member states have mandatory and comprehensive sodium reduction policies in place, leaving 73% without adequate measures to tackle the issue.

The consequences of inaction are dire. The WHO estimates that implementing cost-effective sodium reduction policies could save seven million lives globally by 2030. However, only nine countries have adopted comprehensive policies to reduce sodium intake. This means that many people around the world are still at risk of heart attacks, strokes, and other health problems.

“Unhealthy diets are a leading cause of death and disease globally, and excessive sodium intake is one of the main culprits,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “This report shows that most countries are yet to adopt any mandatory sodium reduction policies, leaving their people at risk."

To combat the issue, WHO has called on all countries to implement its "best buy" interventions to reduce sodium intake. These include reformulating foods to contain less salt, establishing public food procurement policies to limit sodium-rich foods in public institutions, front-of-package labelling to help consumers select lower-sodium products, and mass media campaigns to encourage behavior change.

Countries are also urged to establish sodium content targets for processed foods in line with the WHO Global Sodium Benchmarks and enforce them through mandatory policies. This approach has proven to be more effective, achieving broader coverage and safeguarding against commercial interests.

The report's findings are a wake-up call for governments and food manufacturers around the world. It's time to take action to protect lives and prevent unnecessary deaths from noncommunicable diseases.
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