PAHO promotes health protection with low salt consumption

This year's theme is 'It's Time to Shine a Light on Salt,' which highlights the issue of “hidden” salt (sodium) in many processed and ultra-processed products.

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

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

Salt/sodium consumption in the region of the Americas is well above the recommended limits, and WHO estimates that the average salt intake among adults aged 25 years and older is 8.5 grams per day, which is far above the physiological requirement and 1.7 is times. More than WHO recommends.

It is undeniable that excessive salt/sodium intake has adverse effects on blood pressure. WHO recommends limiting salt intake to less than 5 g/day per adult (<2 g sodium) 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 lower sodium content and with mandatory maximum levels for certain foods , suggests WHO.

In addition to establishing nutritional warning labeling on packaging and restrictions on promotion and advertising, there is also a need for a supportive environment among public institutions such as hospitals, schools, workplaces, and nursing homes to enable the provision of low-sodium alternatives.

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


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