Thursday, October 21, 2010
Hold the salt, WHO tells Canada
"They fought the H1N1 flu pandemic to a draw. Now the World Health Organization is taking on a project every bit as challenging - convincing Canadians to hold the salt. This week, Calgary hosted the second of three WHO conferences on Population Sodium Reduction Strategies, bringing global policy-makers, experts and food industry representatives as well as Canadian government officials together for the two-day event. The conference ended Wednesday and looked at ways to assess salt consumption and evaluate programs aimed at reducing sodium intake. 'Countries need to know how much salt is consumed, where in the diet the salt comes from and how to determine the effectiveness of national programs to reduce salt,' said Dr. Norm Campbell, co-chairman of the conference and University of Calgary Faculty of Medicine professor. Canadians eat a lot of sodium, noted Campbell, and it doesn't just come from the salt shaker in the middle of the table. Processed food is a major culprit and is found in everything from pizza to cereal to condiments. 'When we start to look at high blood pressure, salt is one of the main causes,' said Campbell. 'It's been estimated by the World Health Organization that high blood pressure is the leading risk for death around the world'