4 out of 5 Malaysians taking too much salt, study finds

File pic.

KOTA SAMARAHAN: Salt intake among Malaysians is at an alarming level, says Deputy Health Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye, citing a study carried out last year.

Findings by the Malaysian Community Salt Study 2017-2018 (My CoSS 2017/2018) showed that the average salt intake per day among Malaysians was 7.9g, equivalent to 1.6 teaspoons.

“The study also showed that four out of five Malaysians consume salt in high quantities.

“This suggests that the Malaysian population is taking excessive salt, above the level recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO), which is less than 5g (one teaspoon) per day,” Lee said at the National Salt Reduction Awareness Day 2019 at a mall here today.

The campaign, themed “Jom Bertindak #Sedap Tak Semestinya Masin”, will end on April 20.

Lee said excessive salt intake would increase the risk of hypertension and, if left unchecked, could cause strokes and heart disease.

He said salt reduction was one of the most cost-effective interventions in the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases.

WHO has set a global target for salt reduction in the population of as much as 30% by 2025, he said.

Lee said a study in the UK showed that a reduction in consumption of one gram of salt per day could save 7,000 lives and about one billion in healthcare savings.