Federal Government Warns Nigerians Against Excessive Salt Consumption

High salt intake significantly raises blood pressure, leading to heart attacks and strokes, causing 10% of cardiovascular deaths in Nigeria
Reducing salt intake can prevent hypertension and lower cardiovascular disease risk, saving on costly medical treatments

The federal government has urged Nigerians to reduce their salt intake to protect themselves from diseases and premature death.
During the World Salt Awareness Week event in Abuja, Prof. Muhammad Ali Pate, the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, emphasized the health risks of high salt consumption. The ministry organised the event in collaboration with the Network for Health Equity and Development (NHED).
Represented by the ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Kachollom Daju, Pate highlighted that high salt intake significantly raises blood pressure, leading to heart attacks and strokes. He noted that excessive sodium consumption is responsible for 10% of cardiovascular disease deaths in Nigeria.
Reducing salt intake is essential for controlling blood pressure and preventing hypertension, lowering cardiovascular disease risk. Pate stated, “Reducing sodium intake can prevent costly medical treatments for diseases caused by high sodium intake. Our lifestyle choices, including dietary habits, often come with hidden costs. Overusing salt exacts a heavy toll on health.”
The ministry has established the National Technical Working Group on Sodium Reduction, which is developing the first National Guideline on Sodium Reduction, which is expected to be completed in the third quarter of 2024.
NHED Technical Lead Jerome Mafeni pointed out that the preference for salty food is an acquired taste that can be changed. He stressed the need for policies and interventions to make people aware of the harmful effects of salt.

Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, Director General of the National Agency for Food Administration and Control (NAFDAC), added that while sodium chloride (salt) is essential in diets, excessive sodium intake is linked to various health issues. In Nigeria, hypertension, a major cause of morbidity and mortality, is significantly influenced by high salt consumption.
Adeyeye encouraged everyone to consciously reduce their salt intake by choosing low-sodium products and carefully reading food labels. These simple steps can make a substantial difference in health outcomes.