Save children from salt
pressure, osteoporosis, respiratory illnesses such as asthma, stomach cancer and obesity.”
Dr Vash Mungal-Singh, CEO of the Heart and Stroke Foundation (HSF) SA, said while high blood pressure in older adults was expected, the phenomenon in children is now much more common and very worrying.
“In South Africa one out of three individuals over the age of 15 suffers from high blood pressure, with the number of people affected steadily increasing year on year.”
Although the estimates for salt intake of South African children are unknown, salt intake among adults is high, leading many experts to believe that the same is true for children, since children follow the habits of parents and carers.
Foods high in salt, such as crisps, fried chips, kotas or pies are often bought at school tuck shops and vendors. Recent research has shown that one out of three children eat fast foods two to three times a week.
Fast foods typically contain high levels of salt. A favourite daytime meal among township teenagers is the kota (“quarter”), typically comprising a quarter loaf of white bread, chips, fried eggs, cheese and polony or sausage.
Dietary habits in childhood and adolescence also influence eating patterns in later life. Liking salt and salty foods is a learned taste preference and so it is vital that children do not develop a taste for salt in the first place. — IOL
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Reducing our unhealthy intake of salt will help to combat high blood pressure.