Agency warns of stroke risks from high salt diets

WORLD STROKE DAY::Daily sodium intake among all age groups in the country exceeded recommended levels, a public health agency said

By Alison Hsiao  /  Staff reporter

Wed, Oct 30, 2013 - Page 3

One in every 12 Taiwanese prime-age adults (aged 20-39) has high blood pressure, three quarters of whom are unaware of their condition, the Health Promotion Administration (HPA) said on World Stroke Day yesterday.

According to two national health surveys conducted over the past eight years, daily sodium intake among all age groups in the country exceeded recommended levels, with men consuming more than women, and the young more than the old.

Junior-high, senior-high students and young adult (aged 19 to 30) males consumed 4,899mg, 4,962mg and 4,494mg of sodium respectively each day, which are more than twice the recommended 2,400mg for adults, the agency said.

Female teens and young adults also “consume 3,800mg to 4,000mg of sodium a day, which is about 1.5 times the recommended level,” agency Director-General Chiou Shu-ti (邱淑媞) said. “No wonder the hypertension rate among the young is 8 percent.”

The agency said that excessive sodium intake is one of the main causes of increased blood pressure, and a salty diet could lead to hypertension or stroke.

A survey showed that 26 percent of those aged 20 to 39 who had hypertension did not know they have the condition, the agency said, adding that as people with high blood pressure are three times more likely to suffer a stroke than those without, reducing sodium consumption and quitting unhealthy diets are the first steps to keeping the disease at bay.

The agency also urged the public to limit consumption of processed foods, such as sausages, Taiwanese tempura, pig’s blood cakes, hotdogs and fish balls because they have relatively high sodium content.

One sausage and three pieces of Taiwanese tempura, for example, contain 1,378mg of sodium, which is more than half of the recommended daily intake, Chiou said.