Salt marshes at the Kishon River banks 370.
(photo credit: Amit Mendelssohn)
As the World Health Organization marked World Health Day on Sunday with the
theme of encouraging the prevention and control of hypertension, the Health
Ministry announced its plans to reduce public consumption of salt, which raises
Worldwide, high blood pressure is estimated to affect
more than one in three adults aged 25 and over, or about one billion people. It
is one of the major contributors to heart disease and stroke, which together
make up the No. 1 cause of premature death and disability.
estimate that high blood pressure contributes to nearly 9.4 million deaths
resulting from cardiovascular disease each year. It also increases the risk of
many conditions, including kidney failure and blindness.
The WHO called
on all adults around the world to have their blood pressure measured regularly,
either at a clinic or at home with a digital home device.
know their blood pressure level, they can take steps to control it, said WHO
director-general Dr. Margaret Chan.
It can be reduced not only by eating
properly, but with regular exercise, not smoking and avoiding excessive alcohol
The Health Ministry said that the lower the consumption of
sodium chloride, the lower one’s blood pressure.
There is enough salt in
prepared food and kashered meat and poultry in Israel that there is no need to
add more; herbs and spices can be used to improve the taste of food without
additional salt. The ministry encourages the public to reduce their average
consumption of salt by three grams a day and hopes to double this reduction to
six grams over the next seven years.
The ministry plans to initiate a
public information campaign to increase awareness.
It also is working to
reduce the amount of salt added to processed foods, and intends to analyze urine
samples taken in hospitals and health clinics to determine the exact amount of
salt in the Israeli diet.
In addition, labels will have to state how much
salt each processed food product contains so consumers can purchase
intelligently and gradually reduce their intake.
The ministry has
determined that among the commonly purchased products containing the most salt
are processed olives, salt pickles, smoked meats and foods, certain types of
crackers, soup powders, soy sauce, mayonnaise, mustard, ketchup, pesto and salty
snacks. Eating more fresh vegetables and fruits reduces salt consumption, the
ministry said. When going out to a restaurant, eat little or no added
Children, who on average eat more salt than adults because of the
high amount of prepared snacks, should be encouraged to avoid them as much as
Meanwhile, the WHO has released the latest information on
the number of people in China infected by the A(H7N9) bird-flu influenza strain.
Chinese health authorities announced an additional five laboratory-confirmed
cases, including one death due to the virus.
Among the cases in Shanghai
was a 52-year-old woman who got sick on March 27 and subsequently died. A
67-year-old man is in critical condition and a four-year-old boy has only mild
illness. Two patients from Jiangsu – a 61-year old woman and a 79-yearold man –
are both in critical condition. To date, a total of 16 patients in China have
been laboratory- confirmed with the virus; of these, six people have died.
Various types of bird flu usually begin in southeast Asia because peasants often
work closely with domestic birds that have been infected by wild
The Health Ministry in Jerusalem said Israelis are in no danger,
but continues to monitor the situation from afar.