Reducing Sodium Intake is a Global Issue

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Health issues have made reducing sodium intake a hot topic around the world, and scientific understanding is changing rapidly.

 

World Health Organisation (WHO) 
2006: Recommended that countries implement sodium reduction strategies. Also encourages food manufacturers and foodservice to take initiatives to reduce sodium content.1
 
The European Union Framework for Salt Reduction Initiatives 
2009: Developed voluntary program to reduce salt levels in certain food categories, including catering and restaurant meals, by a minimum of 16% over four years.2
 
U.S.: Institute of Medicine (IOM)
2010: Published strategies to reduce sodium consumption to less than 2,300 mg sodium per day through a coordinated approach including food manufacturers, restaurants and other food service operators.3
 
U.K.: Food Standards Agency
2006: Proposed target sodium levels for a wide range of food categories and guidelines for meals in institutions aimed to meet the recommended level of 2,400 mg of sodium per day4. These have since been followed by the FSA 2012 Salt Reduction Targets and more recently the Responsibility Deal 2017 Salt Targets and Salt Catering Pledges.5  
 
Chile 
2009-2010: Chilean Ministry of Health research showed that salt intake of their population reached 9.8 grams of salt (3920mg sodium) per day. A target of less than 5 grams of salt per day by 2020 has been set as a target across the Americas.6

 

Cultural variations

Compare milligrams of sodium consumed daily in typical diets around the world:
 
 
CountryTypical Daily Sodium Intake (mg)
Japan 4755
China 4361
Australia 3250
South Africa 3427
Finland 3291
UK 3200
France 3381
Netherlands 2760
Italy 4324
Canada 3121
USA 3751
Venezuela 1890
Brazil 3137

 

 
 
World Health Organisation guideline is 2000mg. The amount of sodium consumed and the sources responsible for it vary widely around the planet. However, in most countries, populations and cultures, sodium intakes are much higher than recommendations7.
 
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  1. World Health Organization (2007) Reducing salt intake in populations: report of a WHO forum and technical meeting, 5-7 October 2006, Paris, France. Available at: http://www.who.int/dietphysicalactivity/Salt_Report_VC_april07.pdf Accessed 17/03/2017
  2. European Union (EU). National Salt Initiatives-implementing the EU Framework for salt reduction initiatives. June 2009. Available at: http://ec.europa.eu/health//sites/health/files/nutrition_physical_activity/docs/salt_report1_en.pdf Accessed 17/03/2017
  3. IOM (Institute of Medicine). 2010. Strategies to reduce sodium intake in the United States, Washington D.C.
  4. Food standards Agency (FSA) (2009). Salt reduction targets. Available at: http://collections.europarchive.org/tna/20100927130941/http://food.gov.uk/healthiereating/salt/saltreduction Accessed 17/03/2017
  5. Department of Health, Public Health Responsibility Deal Pledges. Available at: https://responsibilitydeal.dh.gov.uk/pledges/ Accessed 11/09/2017
  6. Pan American Health Organization (2013) Salt Smart Americas. Available at: http://www.paho.org/hq/index.php?option=com_docman&task=doc_view&gid=21554&Itemid=270 Accessed 17/03/2017
  7. Powles J, Fahimi S, Micha R, et al (2013) Global, regional and national sodium intakes in 1990 and 2010: a systematic analysis of 24 h urinary sodium excretion and dietary surveys worldwide. BMJ Open 2013;3:e003733. Available at: http://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/3/12/e003733 Accessed 17/03/2017