FIJIANS consume too much salt.
This was revealed at the 4th Consultation on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD) Prevention and Control that was held at the Tanoa Plaza in Suva yesterday where the Ministry of Health met key players in the food industry to discuss strategies to reduce consumers' salt intake.
National adviser on NCDs Dr Isimeli Tukana said the purpose of the consultation was to reduce NCDs in Fiji, given that more than half of Fijians buy their food from the supermarkets.
The co-ordinator for the Pacific Research Centre for the Prevention of Obesity and Non-Communicable Diseases (C-POND), Dr Wendy Snowdon, said salt intake among Fijians was too high.
She said major factors of salt intake were common takeaway foods, processed foods, and the use of salt both while cooking and while eating at the table.
"High salt intake has been primarily linked to high blood pressure, which is the biggest risk factor for stroke and heart disease," Dr Snowdon said.
"It has been estimated in other countries that reducing salt intake could reduce strokes by around a third and heart attacks by about 20 per cent."
She said there was a need to work with caterers to reduce salt levels in their food, and to have an easy system to advise consumers about what products had reduced salt.
Mr Tukana added that restrictions on businesses were normally done on a voluntary basis.