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First of its kind multi-stakeholder forum initiated to work on a national salt reduction strategy

Realizing that salt reduction in India requires a multi-stakeholder effort, the George Institute for Global Health in association with Arogya World organized the Salt Summit in Delhi on February 9th 2017. 

The summit brought together key representatives from the government, food industry, academic and research organizations, civil society representatives and the media to deliberate on the growing body of evidence that links various non-communicable diseases to high salt intake and a strategy for salt reduction in India. The growing incidence of hypertension and cardiac diseases is largely resulting from high intake of sodium.

 WHO recommended guidelines for consumption of sodium intake is 5 mg per day.

Mr. C.K. Mishra, the Health Secretary inaugarated the session. He said, “NCD’s are now recognized by the Government of India as a major health issue and figures as part of the National Health Mission. The Ministry will be starting a universal screening programme from April onwards covering five NCDs namely diabetes, hypertension, oral, cervical and breast cancers’’  

India is one of the first countries to have developed an action plan for meeting the NCDs 10 targets. One of the targets is 30% relative reduction in mean population intake of salt/sodium. This will also directly help in achieving the other target which is 25% relative reduction in raised blood pressure, or contain the prevalence of raised blood pressure.

Nalini Saligram, CEO, Arogya world, said that this was the first time such a diverse group of people have been brought together to discuss ways to salt reduction strategies. She added, “In India, we need action from the government of India, food manufacturers, private sector, restaurants, street vendors, cafeteria managers, housewives, civil society and academic and research community. We call on each stakeholder group to initiate action and report back on progress made every year at the annual Salt Summits that we plan to organize from this year. We hope to showcase meaningful action from each stakeholder group in India against the important salt reduction target. Nothing less than the health of future generations in India is at stake”

Several studies carried out in the developing countries, including India, have been reporting an increase in the prevalence of diet related chronic non-communicable diseases (NCDs) like overweight and obesity, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, other cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), cancers etc., especially among urban population.

Dr. Vivekanand Jha, Executive Director, George Institute for Global Health, India said, "The inexorable rise in the contribution of NCDs to all deaths is very alarming, presenting a challenge for health community"

Raised blood pressure is one of the leading risk factors for global mortality and is estimated to have caused 9.4 million deaths and 7% of disease burden – DALYs in 2010

1 in 3 of all adult Indians have high blood pressure, by itself making it a major public health burden.

 5 out of the top 10 causes of deaths in India are now due to NCDs. 

The prevalence of raised blood pressure in India is around 26 percent and is considered to be a leading cause of death, stroke, myocardial infarction, congestive heart failure, and chronic renal impairment.

The conference brought out suggestions, comments and recommendations from different stakeholders to put together a list of recommendations and action steps for reduction of salt consumption to be shared with at government, food industry and civil society.