Salt intake among adult Indians has been found to be high and exceeding the levels recommended by the World Health Organisation, according to a recent study conducted by the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI).
The study, was conducted in Delhi, Haryana and Andhra Pradesh, and covered around 1,395 adults.
The study found that salt intake in Delhi and Haryana was 9.5 gms per day and 10.4 gms per day in Andhra Pradesh.
The researchers examined salt excretion by collecting 24 hours urine samples from the study participants over a period from 2016-17.
“Scientific evidence indicates that high dietary salt intake has detrimental effects on blood pressure and associated cardiovascular disease (CVD),”said Dr Sailesh Mohan, additional professor at PHFI, who led the study. The study, which was conducted in Delhi, Haryana and Andhra Pradesh, covered around 1,395 adults in rural and urban areas.
The researchers reported that high salt intake requires a India-specific salt reduction strategy by the government to control the rising burden of high blood pressure.
Limited information is available on how to implement salt reduction in low and middle-income countries (LMICs) such as India, where the burden of hypertension and CVD is increasing rapidly.
The researchers also interviewed various stakeholders from the government food industry, civil society and consumers to obtain their perspective on a potential salt reduction strategy for the country.
“Most of the key stakeholders unanimously agreed to having a salt reduction programme in India to prevent and control hypertension and associated heart disease. Few of the recommendations by the researchers, based on interviews with various stakeholders, were to generate awareness among consumers, promote salt reduction in processed food industry and implement consumer friendly food labelling,” Dr Sailesh added.
Speaking to My Medical Mantra, Dr Vijay Surase, a Heart Surgeon attached to Jupiter Hospital, Thane, said, “In India, people consume more salt than the prescribed limits. People eat bakery products which have a very high content of salt. Consumption of pickle, papad adds on to it. Owing to which people fall prey to disease like hypertension, heart disease, and kidney ailments.”
Dr Shreerang Bicchu, Head of the Department, Nephrology, Bombay Hospital, “In our country, excess consumption of salt is becoming a major cause of worry. High salt intake case cause heart disease, stroke, kidney ailments and disease-related to the blood vessels. To reduce salt intake awareness start right from the school and college level.”
Dr Abhijeet Lodha, physician of Ruby Hall Clinic, Pune, said, “Excessive salt intake has many side effects on body. It is important to generate awareness among consumers, promote salt reduction by processed food industry, and implement consumer friendly food labelling.”