Health minister cautions Nigerians against excess salt consumption

Prof. Ali Pate, the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, has cautioned Nigerians against excess salt and sodium intake, 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, which has the theme”It’s Time to Shine the Spotlight on Salt.”

Represented by the ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Ms Daju Kachollom, Pate said the Federal Government would increase public awareness of 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 for a daily intake of 2 grams of sodium and 5 grams of salt.

He said reducing sodium intake was crucial for controlling blood pressure, which would help 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.

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 moments 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.


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