Sodium intake and iodized salt in the South-East Asia Region
Increased blood pressure is the leading risk factor globally for death and the second leading risk for disability by causing heart diseases, stroke and kidney failure. The World Health Organization is promoting the reduction of salt intake to 5g/day as a cost-effective strategy to reduce hypertension and the overall burden of noncommunicable diseases, while at the same time promoting universal iodization of edible salt for the prevention and control of iodine deficiency disorders (IDD). Synergizing both programmes by promoting their commonalities and complementarities is an essential component of public health. As a part of the actions to reduce the burden of cardiovascular disease and its subsequent problems, the WHO Regional Office for South-East Asia organized a regional workshop on sodium intake and iodized salt for Member States in the South-East Asia Region. The general objective of the workshop was to strengthen an integrated approach for sodium reduction and salt iodization programmes in the Member States of the Region. The specific objectives included reviewing the current sodium reduction and salt iodization strategies in the Member States of South-East Asia, provide training to the participants in standardized approaches for dietary estimation of salt/sodium and urinary iodine estimation.