WHO Urges Countries to Ban High-Salt Foods to Combat Heart Disease

by Ella

The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued a call to action, urging nations to establish legal limits on the amount of salt in manufactured foods, restaurants, and canteens. This recommendation, released on Wednesday, aims to curb excessive salt consumption and reduce the prevalence of heart disease.

According to WHO, nearly all countries in the European region—51 out of 53—exceed the recommended daily salt intake of 5 grams per person. This overconsumption poses significant health risks, as excessive salt intake is a major contributor to hypertension, or high blood pressure, which is the leading risk factor for cardiovascular diseases (CVD).


“The greater the reduction in salt intake, the greater the decrease in blood pressure. Reducing salt intake can decrease CVD deaths and reduce the occurrence of cardiovascular events such as heart attacks,” stated the WHO Europe office in its latest report, “Action on Salt and Hypertension.”


Cardiovascular diseases, including strokes and heart attacks, account for 42.5 percent of all deaths annually in the WHO European Region, equating to around 10,000 deaths each day. More than half of these deaths are linked to hypertension.


The report also advocates for mandatory front-of-pack labeling to help consumers make healthier food choices. Additionally, the WHO encourages public awareness campaigns to promote behavior changes aimed at reducing salt consumption.


Currently, under European Union regulations, front-of-pack nutritional labeling is voluntary. In 2022, the European Commission attempted to introduce mandatory front-of-pack labeling across the EU. However, this proposal faced intense lobbying and opposition from various countries advocating for different systems. Consequently, the proposal was shelved, and many consider it effectively abandoned.

Hans Kluge, WHO Regional Director for Europe, emphasized the potential impact of targeted policies: “Implementing measures to reduce salt intake by 25% could save an estimated 900,000 lives from CVDs by 2030.”

Released during Salt Awareness Week, the WHO report underscores the need for a comprehensive strategy to lower salt intake and improve the diagnosis, treatment, and control of hypertension.



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