Excessive sodium (salt) intake contributes to the rise of hypertension, heart disease and stroke.
How India is doing?
An average Indian’s sodium consumption is more than double the physiological need and dramatically exceeds the World Health Organization’s (WHO) recommended daily intake of <5 g of salt for adults.
The WHO devised a sodium score, ranging from 1 (least implementation) to 4 (highest implementation), for each member state based on factors such as the extent of implementation of sodium reduction and other related measures.
India’s score of 2 signifies the presence of at least one voluntary policy, emphasising the need for more rigorous efforts to address this health concern.
What are some statistics related to salt consumption across the world and in India?
An average Indian’s sodium consumption is more than double the physiological need. It exceeds the WHO recommended daily intake of less than 5 g of salt for adults.
The WHO has recently published the ‘Global Report on Sodium Intake Reduction. It tells about the progress of its member states toward reducing population sodium intake.
Progress has been slow. Only a few countries are making considerable headway towards the objective.
The WHO devised a sodium score. It ranges from 1 (least implementation) to 4 (highest implementation), for each member state. It is based on factors such as the extent of implementation of sodium reduction and other related measures.
India has enacted voluntary measures to decrease sodium in food supply and promote healthier food choices. India’s score of 2 signifies the presence of at least one voluntary policy.
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Why is it essential for India to reduce its sodium intake?
Empirical evidence shows that reduced sodium intake is a cost effective approach to decrease blood pressure.
Lowering sodium intake by 1 gram per day leads to a 5 mm Hg reduction in blood pressure for individuals aged 55, and decrease in stroke incidence. High BP is a critical risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
The economic impact of cardiovascular disease on low and middle-income countries is staggering. It is estimated at $3.7 trillion between 2011 and 2025. This is equivalent to 2% of the GDP of LMICs.
As per World Economic Forum, the Indian economy lost more than $2 trillion between 2012 and 2030 as a consequence of cardiovascular disease.
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Challenges for India
As per data from the Registrar General of India, WHO, and the Global Burden of Disease Study, cardiovascular diseases have emerged as the primary cause of mortality and morbidity.
Hypertension has been identified as the leading risk factor for such diseases in India.
Data from the NFHS-5 reveals that hypertension is more prevalent among men aged 15 and above compared to women.
Hypertension is more common in southern States, particularly Kerala. Punjab and Uttarakhand in the north also report high incidence rates.
The 2020 Report on Medical Certification of the Cause of Death shows that circulatory system diseases account for 32.1% of all documented deaths. Among them, hypertension is a major risk factor.
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Why India should cut down on its salt intake?, Why India should cut down on its salt intake?