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Almost no one worldwide follows WHO sodium and potassium recommendations, study finds

Almost no one worldwide follows WHO sodium and potassium recommendations, study finds

A new large-scale study published in the British Medical Journal reveals shocking statistics on worldwide compliance with World Health Organization (WHO) nutritional recommendations for sodium and potassium. According to the study, the vast majority of people are consuming too much sodium and not enough potassium.

The WHO recommends getting at least 3510 mg of potassium per day and no more than 2000 mg of sodium. The study found that only 0.3 percent of Americans meet these two guidelines. The highest level of compliance found in any country was in France, where a still-paltry 0.5 percent of the population gets enough potassium and not too much salt. The lowest-performing country of all was England, where only 0.1 percent of the population followed the recommendations.

For Americans, the average sodium consumption per day was found to be 3,371 mg, more than 1,000 mg  over the recommended amount. The average daily potassium consumption is 2,631, nearly 1,000 mg less than recommended. 

The authors are urging reforms in the food industry to lower the amount of sodium in packaged foods. 

"Given the surprisingly low levels of compliance with global goals, it is clear that purely educational and individual-level approaches to sodium reduction are unlikely to be successful," they wrote in the study.

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