Friday, March 15, 2013

Health Ministry Targets ‘Less Salt’ After ‘Less Sugar’ Campaign

KUALA LUMPUR: After the “less sugar” campaign, the Health Ministry is now embarking on a “less salt” campaign.
Health Minister Liow Tiong Lai said research done in 2012 among the ministry’s officers showed that their average salt intake was 8.7 grams a day. This could reflect the average salt intake of Malaysians, too.

“According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) an average person should only consume as much as 5 grams of salt a day.

“High intake of salt can lead to increased blood pressure and hypertension. We found that 32.7 percent of Malaysians above the age of 18 suffer from this,” he said in a statement. 

Liow said the most cost effective way to overcome this situation was to instill prevention measures.

He said the World Action in Salt and Health (Wash) would hold its  sixth Universal Salt Awareness week from March 11 to March 17, themed “Less Salt Please”.

He said, “This campaign is aimed at caterers, chef’s and cafeteria owners and will cover topics relating to the reduction of salt in cooking.”

He said food industries in Malaysia have been very supportive of the ministry’s efforts to ensure healthy cooking and eating.

He said from 2011 till last year, more than 16 food items with high salt content – such as biscuits, soy sauce, and instant noodles – had seen salt reductions of between two and 40 per cent.

In conjunction with the Universal Salt Awareness Week, Liow urged the people to undergo regular medical checkups and aim to achieve the optimal blood pressure of 120/80mmHg or less.

 “People should use and consume less salt in their food and substitute with natural flavors like herbs and flavored leaves.

“An increased consumption of fruits and regular exercise will also aid in improving one’s health,” he said adding that a healthy mind and good stress management were essential.

By Kanyakumari Damodaran / New Straits Times

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