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Cutting back on salt can save a life, say Ontarios Doctors

TORONTO - Ontario’s doctors are warning Ontarians about the dangers of hidden salt in everyday foods.

Too much salt causes high blood pressure, heart disease, and increases the chance of stroke. Posters and pamphlets in doctor’s offices across the province will raise awareness of hidden salt and inform patients on how to reduce their salt intake.

In addition, people can also take an online quiz to compare the sodium content of some of their favourite foods at www.oma.org/HealthPromotion/salt/Pages/default.aspx.

Most of the salt people consume is hidden in processed, frozen, or canned foods. While it is easy to keep track of the amount of salt one adds to food, it is more difficult to track the salt in prepared foods, which is why it is essential to read nutrition labels. Those labels show how much sodium is in each serving and the percentage of a person’s recommended daily intake. Most importantly, nutrition labels show there are significant amounts of salt hiding in food.

Earlier this year, Ontario’s doctors released their policy platform,“Better Care. Healthier Patients. A Stronger Ontario.”

Among the recommendations, they called for a comprehensive salt-reduction strategy that includes: specific targets for the food industry to reduce sodium content and a public education campaign to inform Ontarians about the dangers of sodium on their health, ways to detect it in their diet, and how to reduce their sodium intake.

Dr. Stewart Kennedy, president of the Ontario Medical Association, said, “Doctors see patients with high blood pressure every day. This condition and the serious illness that it causes can be prevented by eating less sodium. Paying attention to the amount of sodium in prepared foods is crucial.”

Too much salt causes high blood pressure, which contributes to strokes and heart disease. Nearly 40 per cent of Canadians have high blood pressure or are at elevated risk for getting that disease. The average Canadian consumes 4,000mg of sodium daily, twice the amount recommended for good health.

 

September 2, 2011

 
 

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