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News Release

Salt Awareness Week Launches for the First Time in Ontario

Mar 13, 2013
Survey reveals chain restaurants and fast food outlets sell foods extraordinarily high in sodium.

Survey reveals chain restaurants and fast food outlets sell foods extraordinarily high in sodium   


SIMCOE MUSKOKA –
Ontario joins world leaders from March 11 to 17 to highlight the importance of reducing sodium in our diets by launching the first ever Salt Awareness Week. As part of the week, a new Canadian study on the exceptionally high sodium content in meals from chain restaurants and fast-food outlets has been released. 

“Many people aren’t aware of, or don’t understand, the sodium content in their food,” said Renée Gaudet, registered dietitian at Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit. “Lack of awareness, combined with difficult to understand labelling and the fact that most sodium consumed by Canadians is from sources they can’t see, make it difficult for people to make informed choices.”

The study on restaurant meals revealed that, on average, a single adult meal item from chain restaurants contained almost 100 per cent of the daily recommended amount of sodium. It also showed that a single adult meal item from a fast-food restaurant contained more than two-thirds (68 per cent) of the daily recommended amount of sodium. Children’s meal items from both chain and fast-food restaurants contained on average nearly two-thirds (65 per cent) of their daily recommended amount of sodium.

“Eating a diet high in sodium seriously threatens a person’s health,” continued Gaudet. “Consuming too much sodium can contribute to high blood pressure, which can in turn lead to heart disease, kidney disease or stroke.”

Currently, one in six people in Ontario have high blood pressure. That number increases to one in four for those over the age of 45. High blood pressure is a leading contributor to cardiovascular diseases which are among the leading causes of preventable death and disability in Canada.

To help Ontarians lead a healthier lifestyle, the Ontario Sodium Alliance recommends that restaurants and the food industry reduce the sodium levels in their foods and fully and clearly disclose the sodium content in their meals in relation to the recommended daily allowances.

Ontario Salt Awareness Week is an adaptation of World Salt Awareness Week, created by World Action on Salt and Health in 2005. The goal of the awareness week is to reduce sodium consumption and improve lives globally. 

For more information on sodium, healthy eating and available support services, visit simcoemuskokahealth.org or call Your Health Connection at 705-721-7520 or 1-877-721-7520, Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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