Salt Action Summary
Korea Center for Less Sodium Campaign launched
South Koreans are heavy consumers of sodium; the country ranks at the top in terms of the daily intake of sodium in the world. In 2010, South Koreans consumed 4,878mg of sodium on average, which is 2.4 times higher than the WHO's recommended daily intake of 2,000mg per day.
Over consumption of salt heightens the likelihood of high blood pressure, stroke, kidney diseases, stomach cancer and other illnesses, which poses a significant threat to public health. It is more cost-effective to take precautionary measures than to treat such diseases after they afflict patients, especially since it is important to prevent such diseases.
It is extremely challenging to change one's diet habits, and the food industry tends to cater to the mainstream preferences of consumers. Therefore, the government's sole endeavor is not enough to substantially reduce the consumption of sodium. That is why the society as a whole needs to be committed to resolving the issue.
Korea Center for Less Sodium Campaign has been launched in collaboration with the relevant industry, consumer advocate groups, medical community, academic community and media. The campaign aims to cut the current sodium consumption by 20 percent or more by 2020 in Korea.
The campaign will target food catering, food service, and food processing industries, as well as consumers and promote scientific evidence to execute a wide diversity of public campaigns in each sector of the society.
The campaign will combine capacities of the participating circles of the society and encourage more people to practice eating less sodium. In this way, the campaign will serve as a central vehicle for promoting participation of the public to advance public health and spread the culture of healthy diet.
Koreans are eating too much salt, experts said. According to a government report on the nutritional condition of Koreans, 13.5 grams of salt per day per person was being consumed, which is 2.7 times more than the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended five grams. It is also higher than Japan's 10.7 grams and the United Kingdom's 11 grams.
A Korean Food and Drug Administration spokesperson said Koreans must watch their salt intake. "As people eat more fast food, spicy food and fatty foods which contain lots of salt, there are possible threats of hypertension, brain and heart disease and even stomach cancer", she said. She warned that even children are being exposed to too much salt.