The current levels of global sodium consumption suggest that a large part of the world's total population is on a high sodium diet. A recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, explains how this rise in sodium consumption has resulted into more than 1.6 million cardiovascular-related deaths per year. (More: Foods high in sodium may increase blood pressure)
In a global analysis spanning across 187 countries, researchers have found that people all across the world are exceeding the prescribed limit of daily sodium intake. The standard World Health Organisation's (WHO) recommendation is of two gram (2,000mg) per day. The experts found that the average level of global sodium consumption in 2010 was almost double as to what the WHO recommends. In the year 2010, the global sodium intake was 3.95 gram sodium per day as opposed to 2.0 gram recommended by the WHO.
A high sodium diet can act as a key contributor in escalating blood pressure levels that can further trigger some of the most fatal cardiovascular diseases. It was also found that reduced sodium intake lowered blood pressure in all adults, with the largest effects identified among older individuals, African-americans, and those with pre-existing high blood pressure.
"These 1.65 million deaths represent nearly one in 10 of all deaths from cardiovascular causes worldwide. No world region and few countries were spared," said lead author Dariush Mozaffarian, dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University.
The research showed that almost all the countries were consuming sodium above the recommended levels. Sub-Saharan African region was monitored to be consuming 2.18 gram per day, whereas for Central Asia it stood at a whopping 5.51 gram per day. The researchers analysed existing data from 205 surveys of sodium intake in countries representing nearly three-quarters of the world's adult population. They calculated sodium intakes worldwide by country, age, and sex.
"We found that four out of five global deaths attributable to higher than recommended sodium intakes occurred in middle- and low-income countries," added John Powles from University of Cambridge.
"These new findings inform the need for strong policies to reduce dietary sodium across the world," stressed Mozaffarian who led the research while at the Harvard University's school of public health.