Jamaicans are eating way too much salt, a new Health Ministry study shows

The salt study comes against the background of concerning statistics for hypertension (high blood pressure) among Jamaicans. One in 3 Jamaicans are hypertensive – 35.8% women and 31.7% men, according to the Jamaica Health and Lifestyle Survey for 2016/17. Four out of every 10 people with the disease are unaware of their status – 60% men and 26% women. At the same time, more and more Jamaicans aged 15 to 74 years old are developing hypertension. In 2017, 31.5% of persons in this age group had high blood pressure compared to 20.9% in 2001.

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My husband has regularly complained at our local cook shop about the high levels of salt in their otherwise quite good dishes. The chef maintains that all that salt is necessary – and that is what his customers want. So, he has lost one customer.

And what of the children? Perhaps this will come later in the Ministry of Health and Wellness study on the awfully high levels of salt in the Jamaican diet (see their press release below). A television report this evening noted that vendors outside the Oracabessa High School “are ready to provide healthier options for students.” I know a draft school nutrition policy is in the works, and hope that this will include a reduction in salty foods as well as sugary snacks and drinks (the report did not mention salt). Kudos to vendor Sophia Jones Anderson, who is really trying! There are other issues though:…

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