Awareness of salt danger remains low

Public awareness of salt intake remains limited in China and few can name foods high in the seasoning, according to a survey by the nutrition and health institute of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Less than 15 per cent of more than 28,000 respondents were aware of a high concentration of salt in peanut butter, the survey conducted in Guangzhou, Wuhan, Chengdu, and Shenyang between May and September revealed.

Mainly primary and middle school students, their parents and the teaching faculties were polled.

Awareness of other high-salt foods such as cheese, monosodium glutamate and dragon whiskers noodles also proved poor as only 20 per cent of those polled said they knew they were high in salt.

Ma Guansheng, head of the institute, said: "Despite the knowledge that a high-salt diet is harmful, awareness of salt intake and high-salt foods remains poor".

Recommendations from the nation's public health department put daily salt consumption at no more than 6 grams. The survey showed 35 per cent of student respondents knew that, compared with 46 per cent among parents.

Around 80 per cent of those surveyed knew a long-term diet high in salt would increase the risk of high blood pressure but about 72 per cent of students surveyed said they would eat food high in salt including processed meat, instant noodles, potato chips and preserved fruit at least once a week.