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PAHO promotes health protection with less salt consumption

Washignton, May 13 (Prensa Latina) World Salt Awareness Week, which runs from today through May 19, aims to encourage the implementation of evidence-based interventions to reduce salt consumption in the population to protect cardiovascular health and help prevent many other diseases, according to PAHO.

This year’s theme is ¨It is Time to shine the spotlight on salt,¨ highlighting the issue of the “hidden” salt (sodium) in many processed and ultra-processed products.

In many nations, three-quarters of dietary sodium comes from ultra-processed and processed foods such as bread, sauces and dressings, cookies and crackers, ready-to-eat meals, processed meats and cheeses.

2022 and 2025 targets were set, applying a 15% and 30% reduction of current sodium connection in each subcategory of food groups.

Salt/sodium consumption in the Region of the Americas is well above the recommended limit, and the WHO estimates that the mean population salt intake in adults aged 25 years and more is 8.5 grams per day, which far exceeds the physiological requirement and is 1.7 times higher than the WHO recommendation.

That excessive consumption of salt/sodium adversely affects blood pressure is irrefutable. The WHO recommends consuming less than 5 g/ salt (< 2 g of sodium) per adult daily from all sources.

Salt/sodium reduction is one of the most cost-effective interventions to prevent hypertension and cardiovascular disease, which can be achieved by reformulating food products with low sodium content, and with mandatory maximum levels for some foods, WHO suggests.

A supportive environment is also needed among public institutions, such as hospitals, schools, workplaces and nursing homes, to enable the provision of low-sodium options, in addition to establishing nutritional warning labeling on packaging and restrictions on promotion and advertising.

Finally, behavior change communication and awareness-raising campaigns on salt reduction should be developed.