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How Much Salt Does an Average Indian Consume? ICMR Study Throws Light

The study noted a higher consumption pattern among men, tobacco users and people with obesity. What are the levels?

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An average Indian adult consumes 8 grams of salt daily, higher than the recommended limit of 5 grams by the World Health Organisation (WHO), according to an Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) survey published in Nature Portfolio.

The big point: The purpose of the study was to assess the awareness, behavior and determinants of salt intake in the adult population between 18 and 69 years.

It noted a higher consumption pattern of 8.9 grams daily in men, as compared to women with 7.1 grams intake. Further, a higher daily salt intake was observed: 

  • Employed: 8.6 grams

  • Tobacco users: 8.3 grams

  • Persons with obesity: 9.2 grams

  • Raised blood pressure: 8.5 grams

What was done? The survey measured urinary sodium among 3000 individuals between the ages of 18-69 years. The population was randomly selected, which belonged to both rural and urban areas. 

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Why does it matter? A high diet in sodium can result in at least three million deaths globally, associated with cardiovascular diseases (CVDs).

In India alone 28.1 percent of the total deaths in India were associated with CVDs. In 2016, 1.63 million deaths were attributed to hypertension, again linked to sodium.

A high sodium diet can increase the risk of: 

  • Stroke

  • Cardiac Failure 

  • High Blood Pressure 

  • Premature death 

  • Gastric Cancer 

According to the study, bringing the salt intake down to the recommended 5 gram is a cost-saving way to achieve 25 percent reduction in the prevalence of raised blood pressure.

Further, the limit is expected to also the risk of premature ischemic heart disease (IHD) in 87,000 individuals, and avoid about one lakh premature strokes globally.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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Topics:  research   Sodium 

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