WHO Issues Sodium-, Potassium-Intake Guidelines

February 01, 2013

GENEVA, Switzerland — In a pair of new guideline documents, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends a maximum daily intake level for sodium and a minimum level for potassium in both adults and children, with the aim of reducing the risks of stroke and cardiovascular disease from elevated blood pressure [1,2]. Most populations around the world, the group says, consume less-than-recommended levels of potassium and disproportionately high levels of sodium.

The recommended daily intake for sodium is less than 2 g, or 5 g of salt; a minimum daily intake of 3510 mg of potassium from food is also recommended. In both cases, the recommended levels are adjusted downward for children proportionally based on energy requirements.

In a press release [3], the WHO said, "Public-health measures to reduce sodium and increase potassium consumption and thereby decrease the population’s risk of high blood pressure and heart disease can include food and product labeling, consumer education, updating national dietary guidelines, and negotiating with food manufacturers to reduce the amount of salt in processed foods."