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Salt: China’s deadly food habit

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PEOPLE in China have used salt to prepare and preserve food for thousands of years. But consuming lots of salt raises blood pressure, increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease. Cardiovascular disease, which includes heart attack and stroke, now accounts for 40 percent of deaths in China.

It is well known that salt consumption in China is high, but accurate assessments are scarce. Public health experts need robust estimates of salt intake to help them develop strategies to reduce this intake. An example of a promising strategy is replacing regular salt with potassium salt, which contains less sodium (which raises blood pressure) and more potassium (which lowers blood pressure).

The most accurate way to measure salt intake is to measure the sodium excreted in urine over a 24-hour period. Although this data was collected in China, it has never been comprehensively reviewed. Our latest review, published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, aimed to plug this knowledge gap.

Searching both English and Chinese-language databases for all studies ever published that reported 24-hour urinary excretion of either sodium or potassium in China, we found 70 with sodium data (drawn from 26,767........

© Asian Correspondent