Thursday, December 11, 2014
A national salt reduction campaign is set to be kick-started in India to address the rising incidence of health issues such as high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke.
Blood pressure was the key theme at the Annual Conference of the Cardiological Society of India (CSI) held in Hyderabad. According to Professor Reddy, President of the Public Health Foundation of India and President of the World Heart Federation, India records a high salt consumption, ranging between 10-12 grams per day. Additionally, the vegetable and fruit intake is poor resulting in poor sodium to potassium balance.
India’s salt reduction campaign is set to have a two-pronged approach, namely launching a public education drive to reduce the proportion of salt consumed in cooked foods and at the table, and bringing in regulations to restrict the amount of salt in processed foods in association with the Food Safety and Standards Agency of India.
Insights from the Indian Migration Study revealed that vegetarians had lower blood lipids and blood pressure due to lesser consumption of salt and higher consumption of fruits and vegetables in comparison to meat eaters. However, the experts noted that the average consumption of vegetables and fruits is about 130 g/day, which is much lower than the World Health Organization’s recommended 500 g/day.
Professor Reddy said, “People in India consume more salt than the body needs and a reduction of at least 3 to 5 grams per day should be achievable without harmful effects. To that end, efforts to develop a national salt reduction programme in India are underway.”
Numerous studies have found that high salt intake correlates with increased prevalence of high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke. Projections indicate an exponential rise in hypertension prevalence and related ills by 2030. A healthy diet and lifestyle is thus the need of the hour for preventing hypertension.
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