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Salt in China is among the highest in the world over the last four decades


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It is confirmed that salt in China is among the highest in the world, with adults consume an average of over 10 grams of salt per day over the last four decades, which is more than twice the recommended limit, according to new studies conducted by Queen Mary London University.

Systematic review and meta-analysis funded by the National Institute for Health Research and published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, also found that Chinese children aged 3 to 6 years eat the maximum amount of salt recommended by the World Health Organization for adults (5g per day), while older children eat almost 9g / day.

Excessive salt intake increases blood pressure, a major cause of strokes and heart disease, which accounts for about 40% of deaths in the Chinese population.

The team reviewed all the data so far published on salt intake in China (involving about 900 children and 26,000 adults across the country) and found that salt intake was consistently high over the last four decades, with the North-South division .

While salt intake in North China is among the highest in the world (11.2 grams per day), it has been declining since the 1980s, when it was 12.8 grams a day and the strongest since the 2000- years. This could be the result of both government efforts to raise awareness of salt and reduce the dependency on acidic foods – due to the increased year-round availability of vegetables.

However, this downward trend is not observed in South China, which has increased significantly from 8.8 g per day in the 1980s to 10.2 g per day in 2010. This may be due to the efforts of government, which are mitigated by the growing consumption of processed foods and food outside the home. These latest results contradict those of previous studies based on less reliable data reporting a drop in salt intake across the country.

Potassium, which is naturally found in fruits and vegetables and is in potassium salt, has the opposite effect of sodium (salt) on blood pressure: while sodium increases blood pressure, potassium decreases it.

Researchers have reviewed potassium intake and found that, unlike salt intake, it has been consistently low in China over the last four decades, with individuals of all ages consuming less than half of the recommended minimum intake.

Leading author Monik Tang of Queen Mary University in London said: "Urgent action is needed in China to speed up salt reduction and increase potassium intake, high blood pressure in childhood leading to cardiovascular disease are younger, you are more likely to eat more salt as an adult and have higher blood pressure. "These incredibly high salts and low potassium, the figures are deeply concerned about the future health of the Chinese population.

Feng J, professor of global health research at Queen Mary University in London and Deputy Chief of Saltwater China, added: "Salt in North China has declined but is still more than twice the maximum intake, recommended by the WHO while taking salt Most of the salt consumed in China comes from the salt added by the consumers themselves during cooking but there is now a rapid increase in the consumption of processed foods and foods from street markets, fast food chains, and so on must be considered before it is difficult to compensate

Graham McGregor, a professor of cardiovascular medicine at Queen Mary University of London, and the director of Salt Action China, said: "China is in a coordinated, workable and national strategy urgently needed to achieve salt reduction along with increasing potassium intakes across the country would bring a tremendous benefit to global health. "

The trends found in this latest study are partly contradictory to those from earlier studies that found a large reduction in salt intake in China. Researchers say these latest results are much more robust than previous estimates that relied on studies of people's eating habits. The team instead determined salt intake exclusively using urine data taken over 24 hours.

Dietary saline intake is unreliable as most of the salt in the Chinese diet comes from the salt added during home cooking or in sauces, which is highly variable and difficult to quantify. In addition, processed and fed foods are increasingly consumed, but their salt content is usually incorrectly reported in the food composition tables.

5 easy ways to reduce salt intake

More information:
Monik Tan and colleagues, Twenty-four hours sodium and potassium excretion in China: systematic review and meta-analysis, Journal of the American Heart Association (2019). DOI: 10.1161 / JAHA.119.012923

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Queen Mary, London University

Salt in China is among the highest in the world over the last four decades (2019, July 12)
drawn up on 12 July 2019

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