New study shows that average salt intake in Uzbekistan is 3 times higher than WHO recommendation

Together with WHO experts, medical doctors from Uzbekistan conducted a study of salt intake in the country. Their main objective was to determine the average level of dietary salt intake in the Uzbek population, stratified by age group (18–29, 30–44 and 45–64), by urban and rural residence, and by region.

The team collected data in November 2015 in 5 regions of the country. They assessed salt intake by measuring sodium excretion in individuals’ urine during a single 24-hour period, and by taking into account WHO recommendations. This allowed them to compare data with a wide range of similar studies.

The results showed that the average salt intake by adults in Uzbekistan is 14.9 g/day, regardless of gender. This is almost 3 times higher than the WHO recommendation of less than 5 g/day. Indicators of salt consumption varied by region, reaching 18.5 g/day for residents of the Republic of Karakalpakstan and 12.5 g/day for residents of the Bukhara region. Indicators also varied according to age group, with young men aged 18–29 years demonstrating the lowest level of salt intake at 13.2 g/day. In general, 46.5% of the Uzbek population had a high level of salt consumption (more than 15.0 g/day).

Based on the results of this study, the target level of the average salt intake by adults in Uzbekistan should be set for 10.4 g/day by 2025. This level will be achieved through the development of appropriate policies and targeted measures to reduce salt consumption in the country.

The report was launched in Tashkent on 12 December 2016 at a meeting jointly hosted by the Ministry of Health of Uzbekistan and WHO/Europe. Dr Joao Breda, Programme Manager for Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity at WHO/Europe, explored different policy options based on experience from across the WHO European Region, including product reformulation to lower salt content in foods.

The Ministry of Health of Uzbekistan, together with the WHO Country Office in Tashkent, coordinated the survey. The launch meeting and policy dialogue were made possible by funding from the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation and WHO/Europe. It is hoped that the Ministry of Health of Uzbekistan will approve a series of follow-up activities on salt reduction in the context of the ongoing WHO Project on the prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases, supported by the Russian Federation.