Just The Facts

Too Much Salt: A Truly Global Health Problem

Adults consume too much salt, in a staggering 181 of 187 countries studied

Credit: Deyan Georgiev - Shutterstock.com

Takeaways


  • The craving for #salt leads to 1.65 million deaths annually from diseases that are attributable to excess sodium.
  • 84% of deaths from excess sodium occurred in low- and middle-income countries.
  • Eastern Europe and Central Asia consume the greatest amount of #salt.

1. Nearly every adult in the world consumes an average of 3.95 grams of sodium per day — nearly double the two daily grams recommended by the World Health Organization.

2. In 181 of 187 countries for which data are available, adults consume too much sodium.

3. Excess sodium consumption is the rare health issue that is truly globe-spanning.

4. The craving for salt leads to 1.65 million deaths annually from diseases that are attributable to excess sodium. It is a major cause of high blood pressure the world over.

5. 40% of deaths attributable globally to the excess consumption of sodium occurred before the age of 70.

6. 84% of deaths from excess sodium occurred in low- and middle-income countries.

7. The death rate, mainly from heart disease and stroke, was lowest in Kenya (four deaths per million adults) — and highest in Georgia (1,967 per million).

8. The regional average sodium consumption ranged from a low of 2.18 grams to a high of 5.51 grams.

9. The greatest salt consumption is in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

10. Reduction of sodium intake leads to lower blood pressure — and may result in fewer deaths.

Source: New England Journal of Medicine and Tufts University

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