Educating children to eat less salt - India

Fast facts

  • Indians are eating too much salt
  • Salt increases the risk of developing high blood pressure, the major risk factor for cardiovascular disease
  • Educating children on salt consumption will help current and future generations and save millions of lives.

Partners

  • The George Institute for Global Health, India
  • The George Institute for Global Health, Australia

Background

We are all eating too much salt.  In India adults are consuming on average almost double the World Health Organization’s recommended maximum intake of 5 grams a day.

High salt intake contributes to high blood pressure, increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke, and can put stress on the kidneys, increasing the risk of kidney disease and kidney failure. These conditions have both a human toll, and a considerable impact on the health system. 

It is vitally important that children do not develop a taste for salt in the first place.

As such The George Institute for Global Health, India, extends their National Salt Reduction Programme to children and launched a  ‘Salt Reduction Campaign in Schools’ program. 15000 school children from Delhi and Hyderabad will be educated about the harmful effects of eating too much salt.

Aims

This work aims to raise awareness of the dangers of eating too much salt for children through a school education programme, teaching them how to eat a healthy diet, low in salt – information they can share with their families.

Methods

In order to launch the program The George Institute launched an advocacy campaign to raise funds for launching a pilot study reaching out to 15,000 school children in Delhi and Hyderabad.

The pilot study aims to gather concrete evidence on how this proposed intervention will benefit children’s health outcomes. Under the guidance of our researchers, the program will be able to show a marked difference between the situation before the intervention and after thus proving that reducing salt can make a concrete difference to health outcomes.

Next steps

Based on the results and the response of the pilot project, the collaborative group will scale it up and put together a one-year intervention programme for salt reduction among school children in Chandigarh.