Activities marking the annual Salt Week has begun around the world.
The event is holding for the first time in Nigeria.
Over the years, many people have died as a result of high salt consumption. High intake of salt is also known to cause high blood pressure but not many know how to regulate their salt intake.
In a bid to sensitise Nigerians, Africa Media Research Outreach Initiative, (AMROi), an independent grassroots consumer rights advocacy organisation, has teamed up with the global campaigner, World Action on Salt and Health (WASH), to educate Nigerians.
The one-week awareness programme which began on 11 March will last till 17 March. The theme of the campaign is: ‘Less salt please,’ and aims to reduce the level of salt in various food categories, especially in bread.
Ernie Okeke, founder and CEO, AMROi and Buyer Beware, said it is important that consumers be informed of the dangers of salt not only from fast food, can food and drinks but also from the meals prepared at home.
“Food and nutrition research results show that consumers can consume less salt. It is better for us to consume more tasty ingredients at home,” he said.
He warned that the boom in the fast food sector has encouraged more people to eat out.
“AMROi recognises that consumers eat fast food which contains lots of salt because of the advertising and packaging that come with it but this can be damaging to their health in the long run,” he explained.
Okeke said AMROi, a non-governmental organisation, aims to educate and train people who are in the catering industry.
“We want to tell chefs and other professionals the importance of adding less salt to food and the long-term health implication.”
He said the organisation will take donation from genuine Nigerians who want to help spread the word especially at the grassroots level where information is lacking.
“We do not seek sponsor or support from people who think they can use the advocacy project as a political tool but from people with genuine intention to help people and reach out to the grassroots,” he said.
A report by a research institute based in the United Kingdom revealed that men who consume salt are vulnerable to cardiovascular disease, CVD. CVD accounts for 29 percent of preventable deaths in men compared to women which is 21 percent. The research also showed that more men consume salt.
About 5.5 million people die each year from stroke, most of which are salt related.