The WHO set a global goal to reduce dietary salt intake to about one teaspoon per person per day by 2025, yet salt intake in many countries is currently much higher than this.
One study examined the effects of modest salt reduction on blood pressure, hormones and blood fats from 34 trials involving more than 3,000 adults.
A modest reduction in salt for four or more weeks led to significant falls in blood pressure in people with both raised and normal blood pressure. The effect was seen in white and black people and in men and women, thereby reducing strokes, heart attacks and heart failure across populations, the study said.
Similar results were found in a second analysis of 56 studies. The analysis found reduced salt intake reduced blood pressure and had no adverse effect on blood lipids, hormone levels, or kidney function, WHO officials said.
The findings were published in the British Medical Journal.