The World Health Organization (WHO) Monday called on Vietnam to take action against salt overuse in a bid to cut the number of people experiencing heart disease and stroke and save lives.
The message was delivered on World Heart Day (September 29).
Preliminary survey conducted by the National Nutrition Institute shows that the average salt daily consumption among Vietnamese people ranges from 12-15 grams per person, while the recommended level is less than 5 grams. Nearly 60 percent has a salt intake twice as high as the daily recommendation.
These figures are in line with results of similar studies in other countries such as China and Japan where people on average consume around 10 grams of salt per day as well, according to the WHO rep office in Vietnam.
Consuming too much salt can lead (or contribute) to hypertension, or high blood pressure, and greatly increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases and stroke.
According to a national survey, the prevalence of hypertension in Vietnamese adults aged 25 and older is 25.1 percent. WHO estimates that cardiovascular diseases are leading killer in Vietnam, responsible for 33 percent of total deaths.
WHO recommends that children aged 2 to 15 years consume even less salt than the recommended less than 5 grams per day to adjust for their energy requirements for growth.
A study by the National Nutrition Institute showed that the daily sodium intake in Vietnam comes mainly from condiments added during food preparation, cooking and additional seasoning at the table (81 percent), from processed foods (11.6 percent) and from natural foods (7.4 percent).
Seasoning and fish sauce are the main sources of sodium intake on a daily basis, the study said.
“Reducing salt intake is one of the most effective ways for countries to improve population health and to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Both individuals as well as authorities can take simple salt intake reducing measures,” says WHO Representative to Vietnam Jeffery Kobza.