Teach Hong Kong students about the risks of high sodium levels in food

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 23 September, 2017, 9:04am
UPDATED : Saturday, 23 September, 2017, 9:19pm

I am writing in response to the article on the efforts to reduce sodium in school meals (“Drive to cut salt in Hong Kong pupil’s lunches by half in a decade”, September 15).

Indeed, high amounts of salt in the diet may lead to higher risk of heart disease or high blood pressure later in life, and the voluntary campaign in primary schools should be welcomed. But the health authorities must promote this policy in secondary schools as well.

As the next generation, students should have the right to protection of their health. This can be done through supervising the lunchbox suppliers so that they provide healthy meals and ensure the future health of citizens. Again, if suppliers limit the amount of salt in line with the government suggestion, then more schools would be willing to buy lunchboxes from them and so boost their business.

Besides, to increase awareness among students about the harmful effects of high sodium intake, technology and living could be made a compulsory subject for senior form students.

The information on basic nutrients from this subject will allow pupils to have a better understanding of how excessive salt can affect the body and lead to disease. For example, the food pyramid is a good tool to learn about the most suitable diets and healthy food habits as suggested by doctors.

But all of this does not depend on schools alone. Parents, too, have a vital role to play. Parents should be the role model on dietary habits. Children always like to imitate their parents and have maximum interaction with them. So, if parents like eating salty dishes, the eating habits of their children would naturally be the same, which is bad news for all in the long run.

For instance, it would be better for a family to avoid salty food items such as instant noodles, even if they are very tasty, as large amounts of sodium may harm the kidney and even cause hypertension.

Teresa Ng, Hang Hau