The burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) has increased in the country in an alarming rate as two new studies found higher level salt intake by city dwellers.
Intake of higher level of salt has emerged as a public health problem in the country because it causes high blood pressure, heart diseases, kidney ailment and other non-communicable diseases, this was revealed at a seminar while releasing the two studies at the Dr Shahid Milon Hall of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University(BSMMU) in Dhaka on Monday.
Department of Public Health and Informatics (DPHI) of BSMMU in cooperation with International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (ICDDR'B) organized the dissemination seminar titled "Salt as an NCD Risk factor".
Vice Chancellor of BSMMU Prof Dr Kamrul Hasan Khan, Pro-Vice Chancellor (research and development) Prof Dr Md Shahidullah Shikder, Pro-vice Chancellor (administration) Prof Dr Md Sharfuddin Ahmed, physicians and representatives of International organizations, among others, addressed the seminar with Chairman of DPHI of the university Prof Syed Shariful Islam in the chair.
While presenting his study on "Sodium content of branded breads available in the markets of Dhaka city, Bangladesh", Dr Mohammad Rashidul Alam of DPHI of BSMMU said 70 percent breads of different brands marketed in the Dhaka city contain high sodium than WHO recommended level. He said 450-milligram (mg) sodium in 100 grams of bread is permissible, but seven out of 10 brands of the white bread marketed in the capital were found having higher level of sodium with on an average 503 mg. Among the ten selected breads,
the highest concentration of sodium found in a brand was 625.85mg while one brand contain lowest level of salt with 314mg. Dr Rashidul added. "The dietary salt intake of the study population was 7.8 grams a day, which is significantly higher than the WHO-recommended level," said Dr Fahmida Afroz Khan, research officer at the DPHI of BSMMU, who conducted the study on 100 adults aged between 20 and 59 years from January to December in 2016. The dietary salt intake was measured by urinary sodium.
The study found that 54 percent of the respondents took additional salt during their meals, while 19 percent of them recognised the importance of lowering the salt intake. Health experts said 61 patients in the country are suffering from different non-communicable diseases including heart diseases, cancer, diabetes and kidney ailment.
Among NCDs, heart diseases cause 17 percent death while cancer responsible for 10 percent deaths in Bangladesh, according to a report of WHO.