CATHERINE W GICHUKI
THE average prevalence of hypertension in Qatar stands at 33 percent of adult population with more females with hypertension compared to males, Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) official has said referring to the Stepwise survey.
To address of hypertension risk factors, MoPH, Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC), Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC), Qatar Foundation, Sidra Medicine, Al Ahli, Doha Clinic and Al Emadi Hospitals have come together to raise awareness on how to reduce salt intake during the World Salt Awareness Week which runs from March 12 to 18.
Various activities will take place in hospitals, health centres, Qatar Foundation campuses and science parks, Al Meera supermarkets where people will be enlightened on the importance of reducing salt intake in their diet.
Speaking to Qatar Tribune on the sidelines of a press conference on Sunday, MoPH Director of Health Promotion and Non-communicable Diseases Dr Sheikha al Anoud bint Mohamed al Thani said the campaign is necessary because high blood pressure, high salt intake and cardiovascular disease are higher in Qatar, adding that cardiovascular disease is one of the major factors of hypertension.
It is worth to note that high sodium consumption and insufficient potassium contribute to high blood pressure and increase the risk of heart disease and stroke, and the main source of sodium in the diet is salt.
"From Stepwise survey, we found out that high blood pressure is more in females (37.7 percent) than males (28 percent) in Qatar. On an average, the prevalence of hypertension is 33 percent among the adult population in Qatar. Fifty percent of adult population has three or more risk factors of non-communicable diseases. They are at risk of communicable diseases at any time," said Sheikha al Anoud.
She said that, through the campaign, they will show people the five ways of reducing salt intake to five grams a day, including draining and rinsing canned vegetables and eating more fruits and vegetables.
"This campaign will support our efforts on how to be healthier, how to adopt a healthy lifestyle, decrease obesity, non-communicable diseases and its risk factors. This awareness supports commitment to Sustainable Development Goals, WHO goals and the National Health Strategy," she said.
On her part, HMC Director of Corporate Dietetics Reem Khalid al Saadi said,"We are going to demonstrate some of the foods containing high salt content."
PHCC Head of Community Nutrition and Dietetic Department Moody al Hajri said the Corporation will provide information in the waiting areas at the health centres while dietitians will go to schools to educate children on how to replace salt with lemon and eat more fruits and vegetables, adding that they will also advise mothers on how to avoid canned or ready-to-eat food.
"People should also consume potassium which is available in dates, beans, bananas and oranges because it reduces the effects of sodium. They can also replace the normal salt (chloride sodium) with chloride potassium," she said.
Qatar Foundation (QF) Head of Hospitality Faraz Rauf Tareen said they will provide food with low salt without extra salt condiments on the tables.
The Qatar Foundation hospitality services cater for all food services at the QF.