THE INSTITUTE of Leadership and Development (INSLA) has called on Ghanaians to reduce their intake of salt (sodium chloride) to 30% to avoid high blood pressures, strokes and heart diseases.
The World Health Organisation has recommended that one should not eat more than five grams of salt a day (a teaspoonful) to help regulate fluid in the body.
The call was made in a statement signed by the Director of INSLA, Mr Benjamin Anabila, and copied to the DAILY HERITAGE as the world observes this year’s World Salt Awareness Week from March 12 to 18, 2018, on the theme ‘Eat Less Salt’.
It said a research conducted by the World Action on Salt and Health indicated that many countries currently consume nine to 12 grams of salt a day, thereby doubling the recommended standard, adding that 1.65 million deaths from cardiovascular disease could be prevented if we work together to bring salt intake down to five grams.
The statement said “effective regulation and control of salt in processed food, salt being added to cooked food and at the table will help reduce the disease burden on the health infrastructure, national health budget and the National Health Insurance Scheme [NHIS].”
It urged the government to comprehensively prioritise the prevention and management of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) through the implementation of the Global Voluntary Targets on NCDs, with additional focus towards a 30% relative reduction in salt/sodium intake by 2025.
Policy Advisor and Secretary to the Ghana NCD Alliance, Mr Issah Ali, later in an interview said there was the need to regulate the intake of salt, which facilitates the spread of NCDs among the population.
He recommended that workplace canteens and caterers of the school feeding programme should use low salt, as well as the introduction of nutrition labeling on all food products, to enable consumers to make informed choices.
Mr Ali called for engagement of stakeholders in the food industry to reduce salt in their products while showing concern about the salt consumption of the population by educating and sensitising them on the dangers of high salt intake.
“There is the need for the Ministry of Health, Food and Drugs Authority, NHIS and the Ghana Health Service to adhere to calls from INSLA and immediately start the development of a National Healthy Diet Policy to regulate salt intake and labeling in the country,” he said.