Save chil­dren from salt

Sunday Express - - XPRESS PEOPLE -

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.

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