Mumbai: The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is eyeing salt pans; no, in the present instance, it’s not the land on which these stand but those standing on kitchen shelves and dining tables. It has just unearthed the finding that Mumbaikars are consuming more salt per day than is good for health. According to a STEPS survey conducted by the civic body, citizens consume 8.9 gms of salt daily, which is 3.9 gms more than the recommended daily intake of 5 gms, as specified by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
A total of 5,199 adults participated in the survey - 2,601 men and 2,598 women - and a preliminary analysis shows that 34 per cent of Mumbaikars have hypertension, which could be linked to a higher intake of salt - every third person in Mumbai has high blood pressure. Diabetes, high cholesterol and other non-communicable diseases are common.
As excess intake of salt can lead to high blood pressure—a leading cause of cardiovascular disease (CVD)—the study highlights the need for urgent action in India, to reduce salt consumption. Contd. on Nation
34% citizens in Mumbai have hypertension issues
According to BMC Additional Health Commissioner Dr Sanjeev Kumar, a preliminary analysis showed that 34 per cent residents of Mumbai have hypertension, which could be linked to excessive salt consumption. Hypertension has emerged as one of the biggest reasons for deaths and the BMC is in the process of setting up a comprehensive public health plan to tackle it, confirmed Dr Kumar.
Meanwhile, four of 10 people in Mumbai in the aged 18 to 69 years, are at a high risk of contracting cardiovascular disease, which means nearly 37 per cent of the respondents were reported to have three or more risk factors for CVD, such as regular smoking, insufficient intake of fruits and vegetables daily, insufficient physical activity, being overweight, high BP and glucose.
The BMC’s health team has unrolled a three-level plan, wherein teams of community health workers are already visiting slums and and slum-like pockets, to carry out door-to-door screening for hypertension. “We will also have an NCD corner in our major hospitals, to check the blood pressure of every registered patient and their accompanying relatives,” said a civic health official.
94% of survey respondents fall short of following WHO recommendations about eating habits
The survey also revealed that around 94 per cent of the respondents fell short of the WHO recommendation to eat at least 400 gms, or five portions/servings of fruit and vegetables per day, to reduce the risk of NCDs. Around 21 per cent of the respondents (1 in 5) were found to have elevated total cholesterol levels (higher than 190 mg/dl) and were currently on medication to lower this number.
BMC Deputy Executive Health Officer Dr Daksha Shah said the study had revealed how Mumbaikars were suffering from NCDs, which need special attention, and people needed to rethink their current lifestyles. Yoga centres had been set up for the benefit of citizens but these were not getting a good response, she lamented.
“We have urged citizens to do yoga at the civic yoga centres or exercise for at least 45 to 60 minutes to keep themselves healthy. Citizens above 30 years must get screened for diabetes and hypertension regularly, at nearby BMC health facilities. Those with diabetes and hypertension must consult doctors and get medicines from Aapla Dawakhana / dispensaries. Moreover, people should stop the consumption of tobacco in any form,” she informed.