CPS: Less Salt, More Health

Consuming excess salt contributes to high blood pressure, which is the leading risk factor for death from heart attack, stroke, and kidney failure, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Consuming more than five grams of salt per day increases this risks, but it is difficult to realize how much salt one person is eating as processed foods are usually high in salt, the WHO points out.

The WHO has identified four strategies to reduce salt/sodium intake in the population, by:
Reformulation of food products to contain less salt and setting target levels of salt content in food and meals; The creation of an enabling environment in public institutions, such as hospitals, schools, workplaces and residences so that options with less sodium content can be proposed; Mass media campaigns to reduce salt consumption; and the introduction of front package labeling to help consumers to identify products with high salt content.

The Collective Prevention Services (CPS), a department within the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour, as part of its health awareness, would like to remind the population to go lightly with salt consumption as salt raises blood pressure, leading to strokes and heart attacks, and that by simply eating less can help in managing one’s blood pressure and other risk factors lowering the chances of dying prematurely. A call is extended to every household and business to promote healthy practices at home, schools and the workplace. Reduce your salt intake by eating healthy and exercise regularly.
The words “salt” and “sodium” are often used interchangeably, but they do not mean the same thing. Salt (also known by its chemical name, sodium chloride) is a crystal-like compound that is abundant in nature and is used to flavor and preserve food.

Sodium is a mineral, and one of the chemical elements found in salt. Table salt is approximately 40 percent sodium.

Reducing dietary salt is recommended by the recent United Nations Summit to prevent non communicable diseases (NCDs) and the WHO to improve population health.

Excess dietary salt increases blood pressure causing approximately 30% of hypertension and is a probable pro carcinogen for gastric cancer and is also associated with kidney stones and osteoporosis.

African descent people are particularly susceptible to the adverse blood pressure effects of excess salt. High levels of blood pressure is a contributory factor in at least 40% of all heart disease and stroke which represent 45 % of NCDs.

Hypertension is a major health risk in the Americas where between 20-35% of the adult population has elevated blood pressure.

For more information call CPS at 542-1122, 542-1222, 542-1322 or 542-1570.