It is time to cut back on Salt by John Walker – April 7, 2011

It is time to cut back on Salt by John Walker – April 7, 2011

 

Dorval QCLike so many others I missed out on the theme of WASH week

 

I learned that W.A.S.H. stands for World Action on Salt and Health. In the United States the increase in salt consumption has been accompanied by an increase in obesity and higher blood pressure readings among more and more people. There’s ample information about this in mainstream health news and also on the World Wide Web.

 

Following the links relating to this ‘salt issue’ in the United States I wondered why our own government launched a two year intensive study to examine salt use here in Canada. This government study did conclude that we Canadians do use a lot of salt but further action on this issue needs to be voluntary. This is in spite of the fact that certain food products like cereals have more salt in the product that is sold here in Canada versus the very same product in the U.S. Perhaps our American neighbours are beginning to take action by incrementally reducing their levels of salt intake.

 

Let’s contrast this with action taken by the government of Finland. One could research and write extensively on the program initiated by the Finnish Government a number of years ago. The key finding for Finland is that the rate and incidents of strokes and heart attacks has been reduced by 70-80% as a result of consumers converting over from sodium based white salt to magnesium-potassium based salt.

 

Millions and even hundreds of millions of health care dollars could be saved in Canada by following the example already proven to be very effective in Finland. It would also save countless lives and lengthy family hardships. Caregivers might even spend more time at work and thus improve Canadian productivity.

 

I have tried but have not found a place where magnesium-potassium based salt is on sale in Canada. Instead, I have found a number of articles outlining the reality that aging baby boomers are going to be an added burden on the health care system due in part to the increase in the number of strokes and heart attacks in this group.

 

Canadians need to have a mature conversation on the topic of our health care system. I also suggest that on a smaller scale that we should more readily accept and follow proven actions taken elsewhere. Let’s take quick action on our salt intake, including the kind of salt that we use, and thus save lives and hundreds of millions of health care dollars at the same time.

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