CAPPA – Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa

Yuletide: CAPPA warn against increased intake of salt

…laments rise in hypertension and cardiovascular diseases among youths

Ahead of the Christmas and New Year celebration, the Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA) has warned Nigerians against increased intake of salt in their food.

CAPPA’s Executive Director, Mr Akinbode Oluwafemi at a press conference in Abuja expressed concern over the rising burden of non-communicable diseases such as hypertension and cardiovascular diseases in the country.

He said hypertension, mainly caused by an increased intake of salt or sodium, accounts for 12% of deaths in Nigeria.

Oluwafemi said the teeming population of youths that have embraced fastfood and processed foods and seasoning are already at the recieving end of increased salt intakes in the country.

He noted: “Presently, Nigeria records an estimated daily salt consumption reaching up to 5.8grams per day, dangerously exceeding the World Health Organization’s (WHO) recommended limit of 2 grams of sodium per day or less than 5 grams of salt per day, which is equivalent to just one teaspoon of salt daily.

“According to the non-Communicable Diseases Alliance, non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as cardiovascular disease are the primary cause of death and disability worldwide.

“These alarming statistics are not surprising given the significant changes in the Nigerian diet over the past decade. The influx of processed foods and seasonings loaded with high sodium on local market shelves and the growth of unhealthy fastfood outlets has led to a nutritional transition in the country that poses a grave risk to public health.

“Added to this risk is the recent reports of unbranded and unmeasured seasoning overtaking the markets in Northern Nigeria. In no distant time, the woes of these unchecked sales of Monosodium glutamate will manifest.

“Our desire, in line with our commitment and pact, is to help the public understand the dangers of their choices when it comes to food and to constantly engage with government to put in place the relevant legislations to protect Nigerians.”

The CAPPA chief described the decision by the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare to sign the validated policy on Food Safety and Quality (FS&Q) as a step in the right direction.

To protect Nigerians, he said the Federal Ministry of health and Social Welfare (FMHSW) and National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) must take proactive steps to formulate healthy food policies and enforce them within the country.

He said it is also imperative for competent agencies responsible for legislation and implementation of food safety standards in Nigeria to develop effective strategies for the regulation of large food industries, SMEs, and street food vendors, to set mandatory salt limits for all food products in compliance with global best practices.

“This will not only aid the enforcement of existing regulations like the #TransfatFreeNigeria regulation, but it will also provide room for advancing complimentary regulations that will take away foods that are injurious to our health,” he added.

“As the yuletide beckons, many Nigerians will go back home with large quantities of these products innocently, trusting that the government has done the needful.

“It is therefore imperative that we call on the government, especially the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare and NAFDAC to prioritise policy on mandatory salt targets in Nigeria. Achieving this will ensure that more Nigerians eat healthy and nutritious food while boosting our nation’s health for shared prosperity.”

Source: The Guardian

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