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Table of Contents   
LETTER TO THE EDITOR  
Year : 2017  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 6  |  Page : 1841-1842
Aiming to reduce salt intake in the world's population and minimize risk of cardiovascular diseases


Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Ammapettai, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

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Date of Web Publication11-Jan-2018
 

How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Aiming to reduce salt intake in the world's population and minimize risk of cardiovascular diseases. Ann Trop Med Public Health 2017;10:1841-2

How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Aiming to reduce salt intake in the world's population and minimize risk of cardiovascular diseases. Ann Trop Med Public Health [serial online] 2017 [cited 2018 Aug 15];10:1841-2. Available from: http://www.atmph.org/text.asp?2017/10/6/1841/222647


Dear Sir,

Cardiovascular diseases have been ranked as the leading cause of mortality across the world, with almost four-fifth of such deaths being reported in low- and middle-income nations.[1] The available evidence clearly suggests that excess of salt intake (more than 5 g per day) among adults results in higher levels of blood pressure, which is a major risk factor for cardiovascular diseases and stroke.[1] In the modern era, the dietary patterns of the people have shown a transformation with lesser consumption of fruit-vegetables-fibers, and a rise in intake of processed foods, which are readily available and at an affordable price, and are energy-dense with high levels of saturated or transfats, sugars, and salt.[1],[2]

It has been observed that a major proportion of people consume twice the recommended maximum level of intake, and is often obtained from daily food items in which salt is naturally present, or processed foods, which have excessively high levels, or even while cooking/or while eating the food.[1],[2] In fact, intake of high sodium (more than 2 g per day) and inadequate potassium (less than 3.5 g per day) will aggravate blood pressure and thus will augment the risk of heart disease and stroke.[1],[2],[3] Also, it has been recommended to consume iodized salt, which is extremely important for healthy brain development in the fetus and young child.[2]

Acknowledging the importance of salt reduction, the global stakeholders have reached the consensus to minimize the world's population salt intake by 30% till the year 2025.[1] This cannot be achieved unless effective government policies are formulated that are population-based, involve all concerned sectors, and built on a culturally sensitive approach.[1],[3],[4] The interventions include strategies like regulating food manufacturers to produce healthier foods at an affordable price, involving private sector to enhance the availability and accessibility of low-salt products, creating awareness among the general population through different modes of communication (including social media) about the merits associated with reduced salt consumption, developing an enabling environment in schools or workplaces for promotion of healthy foods, monitoring salt intake levels among people, and promoting fortification of salts.[1],[2],[3],[4],[5]

In addition, measures at household level (like not adding salt during cooking or while eating, not purchasing products with high salt levels, etc.), sensitizing food handlers about reducing salt in food items, getting away with the practice of keeping salt shakers from restaurants table, providing dietary advice to people visiting health establishments, ensuring gradual reduction in salt levels of product to allow people to get adjusted, and conducting awareness campaigns to neutralize the existing misperceptions (viz., if you sweat more you need more dietary salt, sea salt is not “better” than manufactured salt, no flavor will be present in food if there is no salt, only foods with high salt levels can taste salty, only elderly people have to be bothered about salt consumption, or reducing salt intake is bad for health, etc.) about salt reduction among people, can also deliver long-term favorable results.[1],[2],[3],[4],[5]

Furthermore, the World Health Organization has come with multiple interventions to reduce dietary salt intake and has laid multiple guidelines to address the needs of different population groups.[1],[2]

To conclude, ensuring improvement in the dietary habits is a society and an individual's responsibility. Moreover, reduction in salt intake is one of the key cost-effective interventions to improve significant population health outcomes both in terms of morbidity and mortality.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
   References Top

1.
World Health Organization. Salt reduction-Fact sheet; 2016. Available from: http://who.int/mediacentre/factshe6ets/fs393/en/. [Last accessed on 2016 June 26].  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Sodium intake for adults and children-Guideline. Geneva: WHO Press; 2012. p. 1-5.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Trieu K, McLean R, Johnson C, Santos JA, Angell B, Arcand J. et al. The science of salt: a regularly updated systematic review of the implementation of salt reduction interventions (June-October 2015). J Clin Hypertens (Greenwich) 2016;18:487-94.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Land MA, Wu JH, Selwyn A, Crino M, Woodward M, Chalmers J. et al. Effects of a community-based salt reduction program in a regional Australian population. BMC Public Health 2016;16:388.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Muthuri SK, Oti SO, Lilford RJ, Oyebode O. Salt reduction interventions in Sub-Saharan Africa: a systematic review. PLoS ONE 2016;11:e0149680.  Back to cited text no. 5
[PUBMED]    

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Correspondence Address:
Saurabh R Shrivastava
3rd Floor, Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Ammapettai Village, Thiruporur, Guduvancherry Main Road, Sembakkam Post, Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/1755-6783.222647

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