May 22, 2024

FG cautions Nigerians against excess salt consumption

Prof. Ali Pate

The Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof. Ali Pate, has cautioned Nigerians against excess intake of salt and sodium, saying it could cause hypertension and other heart diseases.

Pate said this on Tuesday in Abuja at a news conference to commemorate the 2024 Salt Awareness Week, with the theme: ”It’s Time to Shine the Spotlight on Salt.”

Represented by the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Ms Daju Kachollom, Pate said the Federal Government would step up public awareness on the dangers of excess salt intake.

The minister said that not less than 10 per cent of cardiovascular disease deaths are attributed to the burden of excess sodium consumption in Nigeria.

He said that there were varying estimates of the average daily intake of dietary sodium among Nigerian adults, ranging from 2.3 to 10 grams per day, while the intake of dietary salt ranged from 5.8 to 25 grams per day.

Pate said that this figure was significantly higher than the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) recommendations of a daily intake of 2 grams of sodium and 5 grams of salt.

He said that this figure was significantly higher than the WHO recommendations for a daily intake of 2 grams of sodium and 5 grams of salt.

Pate said that reducing sodium intake was crucial for controlling blood pressure, adding that this would help to prevent hypertension and reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

According to him, salt is a hidden adversary in people’s diets, and it contributes to the burden of cardiovascular diseases that afflict many of their loved ones.

He said, “Nigeria is not immune to the global epidemic of hypertension and heart diseases.

“The choices we make at our dining tables, the ingredients we stir into our pots, and the snacks we consume at a moment of leisure; all contribute to the silent escalation of health risks associated with high salt intake.

Citing a WHO report, Pate said that about 17.9 million lives were claimed as salt intake had a far-reaching impact on death, through high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke.

He said that implementing sodium reduction strategies could lead to significant healthcare savings, and also prevent costly medical treatments for diseases caused by high sodium intake.

Pate said that the federal government had embarked on several initiatives to curtail excessive salt intake and bring about a healthier Nigeria.

WHO Country Representative, Dr Walter Mulombo, also said that excess salt consumption was linked to gastric cancer and kidney disease.

Mulombo, who was represented by National Progressional Officer on Nutrition, WHO, Dr Pindar Wakawa, said the global average intake of sodium was more than double what the WHO recommended.

He called for an urgent public health message to enable people to take precautions against salt and sodium consumption.  (NAN)