Sun | Sep 24, 2017

Look out for hidden salt - Salt Awareness Week (February 28-March 5)

Published:Wednesday | March 2, 2016 | 3:00 AM

'Look Out for Hidden Salt' is the theme for this year's World Salt Awareness Week, which is being observed February 29 - March 5.

Eating a high-sodium diet raises blood pressure and increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. The recommended daily maximum for salt intake is five grams (one teaspoon) or 2,000mg of sodium per day.

A high percentage of the salt eaten is hidden in the food purchased.

Shermaine Robotham, health promotion manager, National Health Fund (NHF), stated, "It is important for everyone to monitor the amount of salt in the diet and not exceed the recommended intake of five grams a day. This can be achieved by cooking with natural herbs and spices, reducing significantly the consumption of processed foods and making sure to read food labels carefully and choose items with lower sodium levels."

Everton Anderson, chief executive officer of the NHF, said, "there is a steady increase in NHF enrolment for chronic diseases that are impacted by high sodium/salt intake. There are over 288,000 persons with high blood pressure currently enrolled with the NHF Card, and this is the single highest enrolment among the 16 conditions covered by the NHF and represents approximately 71 per cent of beneficiaries."

Additionally, more than 65,000 persons are enrolled for ischaemic heart disease and more than 110,000 persons for vascular disease.

The NHF is undertaking a series of activities to educate persons on lowering their salt intake during Salt Awareness Week. Among the activities planned are blood-pressure screenings at the NHF Customer Care Centre, first floor of the Towers, New Kingston and all NHF Drug Serv pharmacies today.

Information on controlling high blood pressure and on the use of alternatives to salt will also be distributed.

On Friday, the NHF will be having a mini health fair in the Half-Way Tree Transportation Centre, offering blood-pressure checks and demonstrations on how to cook with less salt, as well as what to look for when reading food labels to determine the level of salt in the item being purchased.

Additional information and videos on lowering salt/sodium intake can also be found on NHF social media and the NHF website. See more at: www.nhf.org.jm