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4800 die from NCD

Siteri Sauvakacolo
Tuesday, March 11, 2014

AT least 4800 Fijians die every year from non-communicable disease, says Dr Isimeli Tukana.

And many of these NCD-related deaths are related to excess salt intake.

The NCD national advisor revealed this in an interview following yesterday's launch of the National Salt Awareness Week.

"6000 Fijians die every year, and of these 80 per cent are NCD-related deaths," Dr Tukana said.

"When you talk about high blood pressure, heart disease or stroke you have to relate it to salt because it is the physical connection to the disease.

"It's important to note that the food we eat —it's clearly written there how much salt or sodium is in that food and the challenge is for us to make Fijians understand the subject."

He said one of the main reasons could be simply because more and more Fijians were buying from supermarkets and were buying processed foods.

"We are not stopping Fijians from buying from the supermarket, what we are trying to do now is to improve our information and tell Fijians how much salt or sugar is in the food that they can eat.

"It's just logic — if you know the cause of the disease, you should tackle the cause, the main causes and risk factors are salt.

"And to bring the numbers down we have to cut down on our daily salt consumption."

Dr Tukana said even though the national focus was now on dengue fever, it was important to note that dengue fever could only be controlled in a period of time however NCDs was the bigger problem and that it was the responsibility of all individuals to control their salt consumption.

NCD-related diseases include cancer, kidney failure, heart diseases, high blood pressure and stroke.

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