Get some sodium sense

Use the Sodium Sense tool to gauge how much sodium you consume in a day

  • Aug. 1, 2012 1:00 p.m.

Ministry of Health

The Province is continuing to make the healthier choice

the easier choice with a new online, interactive sodium tool.

Using the Sodium Sense tool, visitors to www.healthyfamiliesbc.ca can

gauge how much sodium they consume throughout the day. This

interactive tool allows families to create low sodium meals for

breakfast, lunch and dinner.

The Sodium Sense tool is part of the Province’s Healthy Families BC

campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of eating too much sodium.

Other measures to raise awareness include the Healthy Families BC

Sodium Facts Contest. The contest tested the sodium knowledge of

British Columbians. Laura Gaetz from Parksville is the grand prize

winner of the contest and has chosen $5,000 in groceries. Gaetz and

her daughter will also benefit from $1,000 worth of meal planning

services from a registered dietitian.

Sodium is needed to stay healthy, but too much sodium is linked to

elevated blood pressure, which is the leading preventable risk factor

for death in B.C. A good way to watch the amount of sodium you eat is

to check the nutrition facts label on packaged foods. Look for the

percentage daily value (% DV). Five per cent daily value or less of

sodium is a little, while 15 per cent or more is a lot.

British Columbians consume more than double the amount of sodium

considered adequate to promote good health. So consume more fresh

foods, fewer processed or packaged ones and read those labels. Use

the Sodium Sense tool to create meals that have the recommended 500-

800 mg of sodium, and aim for a total daily sodium intake of 1,500-

2,300 mg.

Healthy Families BC is targeted at reducing chronic diseases and

obesity levels in the province through healthy eating and physical

activity. The $68.7-million strategy will see the implementation of a

variety of healthy living measures to improve health and promote

wellness in every part B.C.

Chronic diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure and heart

disease are the largest causes of disability and death in British

Columbia.

Excess sodium is linked to high blood pressure, the major cause of

cardiovascular disease and a risk factor for stroke and kidney

disease.

There is also evidence that a diet high in salt is a risk factor

for osteoporosis, stomach cancer and asthma.

The recommended daily sodium intake for an adult is 1,500 mg, but

the majority of British Columbians consume more than twice that

amount, at 3,400 mg. This means that the average British Columbian

consumes the equivalent of 11 cups of salt a year.

Evidence shows that if we are physically active, achieve and

maintain a healthy body weight, enjoy a healthy diet and refrain from

smoking, we can reduce our risk factors for most chronic diseases by

up to 80 per cent.

For tips on how to limit your sodium intake and to play Sodium

Sense, visit: http://healthyfamiliesbc.ca/