News / Health

Health Care Teams Worldwide Work To Reduce Salt Intake

Health Care Teams Worldwide Work To Reduce Salt Intakei
X
July 04, 2013 1:16 AM
Cardiovascular diseases are a major killer around the world, even in developing countries, and high blood pressure is a risk factor for these diseases. VOA’s Carol Pearson reports on some international programs whose goals are to drastically cut the number of deaths from cardiovascular disease.
Carol Pearson
Cardiovascular diseases are a major killer around the world, even in developing countries, and high blood pressure is a risk factor for these diseases. 

Eating too much salt can lead to high blood pressure, stroke and heart attack, even where it’s least expected. Researchers in Kenya from the Weill Cornell Medical College say hypertension is on a startling rise in sub-Saharan Africa. The problem is so severe in the Americas that PAHO - the Pan American Health Organization - launched a program called SaltSmart.  Branka Legetic is the program coordinator.  

“Hypertension is a leading problem throughout the whole world. It actually contributes to most of the risks as well as most of the diseases that are so called non-communicable diseases. It is number one," said Legetic.

Legetic says most people don’t know the dangers of eating too much sodium, the chemical found in salt. The World Health Organization recommends no more than five grams of sodium per day, the amount in a teaspoon of salt. The goal of SaltSmart is to get people to cut their salt intake in half by the year 2020.

“We know that the people now consume 10 grams, 11 grams of salt, 17 grams of salt.  In some Caribbean countries, so it’s three times or two times more than recommended," she said.

In the U.S., Million Hearts, a government-sponsored program, aims to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes by 2017. Dr. Janet Wright is the executive director.

“We’re asking for this effort to begin with the individual, within each of us. I think so many of us have been touched by heart disease because it is still the number one killer in the country, one out of three deaths," said Wright.

Wright explains that simple practices can go a long way to achieving this goal.

“It could be adding a fruit or a vegetable.  It could be building your way up to 150 minutes of exercise each week.  And it can also mean working with your health care team to stay on medicines if they’ve been prescribed," she said.

Wright says missing even a day’s medication damages the heart, the kidneys, eyes and blood vessels. Branka Legetic also says healthy eating habits could go a long way because there is a lot of salt in processed foods.

“I think that the people have to be conscious about how much to eat and then what do they eat, and really strive toward more and more fresh and unchanged products," she said.

Th Pan American Health Organization is working with food manufacturers to reduce the amount of sodium that goes into processed food. Until that happens, the simplest way is to cut down on consumption of processed and restaurant foods.

You May Like

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More