Vietnamese recommended to reduce half of salt intake

Tuesday, 2018-03-27 16:44:23
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Experts have recommended that Vietnamese people fix their heavily salted diet to prevent hypertension and cardiovascular disease.
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NDO – Vietnamese people should cut their daily intake of salt in half to prevent high blood pressure, cerebrovascular incidents and other non-communicable diseases, experts have suggested.

Medical experts gathered at a media conference hosted by the Department of Preventive Medicine (under the Ministry of Health) in Hanoi, on March 27, to discuss communication measures to encourage people to reduce their salt intake.

Dr. Truong Dinh Bac, Deputy Head of the Preventive Medicine Department, said that a Vietnamese adult currently consumes 9.4g of salt a day, which is almost twice as high as the WHO recommendation (at 5g a day).

Dr. Bac affirmed that too much salt is a major cause of illness and mortality due to cardiovascular disease and certain other non-communicable diseases, as well as increasing the risk of kidney failure, osteoporosis and gastrointestinal cancer, especially stomach cancer.

In 2012, there were 112,600 deaths attributable to cerebrovascular disease alone (accounting for 21.7% of total deaths) and 36,500 deaths from myocardial infarction (accounting for 7% of total deaths). Approximately one in five adults develops a case of high blood pressure, with one in three deaths from cardiovascular disease, mainly due to stroke.

According to a study on salt habits in Ho Chi Minh City, 73% of households used instant noodles, 37% used canned food, 31% had sausages and the rest used instant-packed products, while several packaged foods have a very high salt content, with instant noodles at about 5-7g/100g and sausages at 1.5-2.3g of salt per 100g of product.

Experts at the conference warned that Vietnamese adult currently consumes 9.4g of salt a day, which is almost twice as high as the WHO recommendation.

According to a survey in 2015, 89.2% of people always add salt, fish sauce and other spices to food when preparing, processing and cooking; 70% regularly mix and dip foods into sauce and salt while eating, and 19.5% regularly eat processed foods with high levels of salt such as pickles, instant noodles and salted roasted peanuts Dr. Bac added.

Dr. Jun Nakagawa, Deputy Head of the WHO Representative Office in Vietnam, stressed that people around the world are using too much salt, with an average of 10g per day. He suggested that Vietnam makes recommendations on the maximum salt in 100g of food, preferably popular foods with high content of salt, such as instant noodles and sausages.

Doctor Tran Quoc Bao from Department of Preventive Medicine said that the country is still lacks policies related to salt reduction interventions, for example, the food labeling policy (warning of high salt content) and policies related to restrictions on advertising, marketing and trading of salt-rich products.

By 2025, Vietnam aims to make more than 90% of adults aware of the negative effects of high salt intake; reduce the consumption of edible salt to below 7g/person/day and have more than 70% of students taking at least one measure to reduce salt intake as recommended, as well as striving to have over 90% of people diagnosed with hypertension and cardiovascular disease receiving counseling and guidance on reducing their salt diet.