Limiting Salt Intake

Why in News?

  • Recently, the World Health Organization recommended a daily intake of less than 5 grams of salt for adults, but an average Indian’s sodium consumption is more than double that amount.
  • The WHO has set a goal for member states to decrease population sodium intake by 30 percent by 2025, but progress has been slow. India’s sodium score of 2 out of 4 indicates the requirement for more rigorous efforts to address this health concern.
  • Recently the WHO launched ‘Global Report on Sodium Intake Reduction,’ which sheds light on the progress of its 194 member states towards decreasing population sodium intake by 30% by 2025.

Need for Limiting Salt Intake-

  • Excessive salt intake can have deadly consequences like Hypertension, heart disease, and stroke.
  • Reducing sodium intake is crucial because it is strongly correlated with lower blood pressure, which can lead to a reduction in Cardiovascular Diseases.
  • Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of mortality globally and is accountable for a significant economic impact on low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) like India.
  • Cardiovascular disease and hypertension are serious challenges in India due to various factors, including rising mortality rates, higher prevalence in men, especially in southern states, and a large pre-hypertensive population.
  • The 2020 Report on Medical Certification of the Cause of Death revealed that circulatory system diseases account for 32.1% of all documented deaths in India, with hypertension being a major risk factor.
  • The World Economic Forum projects that the Indian economy alone faces losses exceeding USD 2 trillion between 2012 and 2030 because of cardiovascular disease.

Recent Related Initiatives-

  • Eat Right India Campaign-
  • It was introduced by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), with an aim to transform the Indian food system and ensure that everyone has access to safe, nutritious, and sustainable food.
  • Aaj Se Thoda Kam Campaign-
  • FSSAI has started the ‘Aaj Se Thoda Kam’ social media campaign. Despite these efforts, the average sodium consumption of Indians remains alarmingly high. Studies have found that the typical daily intake of sodium in India is about 11 grams, which is much higher than the suggested intake of 5 grams per day.

Why is Salt Consumption Important?

  • Salt as a Sodium chloride is a crucial nutrient that plays many important roles in the body.
  • Sodium is an electrolyte that supports to regulate the balance of fluids in the body and aids in the transmission of nerve impulses and muscle contractions.
  • Salt consumption is important for maintaining proper bodily function, but excessive intake can have negative health consequences, making it important to consume salt in moderation.

Some suggestions to address these challenges-

  • India requires a comprehensive national strategy to lower salt consumption, with a multi-pronged approach that engages consumers, industry, and the government. Collaboration between state and union governments is crucial to combat hypertension caused by excessive sodium intake.
  • Deceasing sodium consumption has been identified as a highly cost-effective strategy to stop Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs), which are responsible for the majority of deaths globally.
  • A report suggests that implementing policies to reduce sodium consumption could save approximately seven million lives worldwide by 2030.
  • The sodium reduction policy is important to attaining the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) of reducing deaths from NCDs.

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