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Health condition among Hong Kong People influenced by large intake of salt

ZHANG Luting made this Freedom of Information request to Department of Health

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Dear Department of Health,

Out of concern for health problems of people in Hong Kong caused by high intake of salt, my classmate and I are doing a research based on the government programme “‘Salt/Sugar’ Label Scheme for Prepackaged Food Products” (mainly focus on salt) (relevant information that we have already found is from the website https://www.cfs.gov.hk/sc_chi/multimedia...). The aim of this programme is to reduce the amount of sugar and salt consumed by people and to reduce the prevalence of related diseases to a certain extent. Refer to the web pages and documents we found (https://www.chp.gov.hk/en/healthtopics/c... ;https://www.healthyhk.gov.hk/phisweb/en/... https://www.chp.gov.hk/files/pdf/ncd_wat...), the Population Health Survey 2014/2015 revealed that 27% of the population aged 15 and above has hypertension. The prevalence of hypertension increases with age, from 4.5 % for people aged 15-24 to 64.8% for people aged 65-84. Nearly three thousand people die of stroke each year in Hongkong. And in 2019, about 10.2 persons on average died from coronary heart diseases per day.

To further continue our research and give suggestions to help try to solve the problem, we are writing this letter to request for relevant data and information.

Q1:Please provide the results of the population health survey in recent years or more updated figures about NCD burden in Hong Kong including high blood pressure, stroke, coronary heart disease, which may be caused by high salt consumption.

Q2: In what ways has the Department of Health collaborated with the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department in promoting the diet of less sugar and less salt?

Q3: How does the department monitor the health conditions and related diseases of HK residents in connection to sugar and salt reduction?

Yours faithfully,

ZHANG Luting

Department of Health

I am out of the office until 08/12/2021.

For urgent matters, please contact Miss Jackie LAM, CO(Per)4 at 3107 2571 /

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Department of Health

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Dear ZHANG Luting,

In light of World Health Organization's call for development of
multi-sectoral action plan with clear targets in NCD prevention and
control, the Government launched "Towards 2025: Strategy and Action Plan
to Prevent and Control Non-communicable Diseases in Hong Kong"  in 2018 to
guide multi-level and cross-sectoral actions. Among others, the Centre for
Food Safety (CFS) of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD)
is our partner to promote reduction of dietary salt and sugar intake.  

Per your request, the relevant information is provided below:

Q1. The Department of Health (DH) regularly conducts territory-wide
population health survey (PHS) to understand the health status of the Hong
Kong population, their health-related lifestyle practices and collect
other important health information. The last round of PHS was conducted in
2014/15. The PHS 2014/15 was composed of two main components, namely
household questionnaire survey and health examination.  The prevalence of
the diseases under request are set out below -

Apart from 14.6% of persons aged 15-84  with a self-reported
doctor-diagnosis of hypertension, 13.2% (11.5% of females and 14.9% of
males) of these persons were found to have high blood pressure with SBP
≥140 mmHg and/or DBP ≥90 mmHg. The total prevalence of hypertension, i.e.
combining cases that were self-reported or detected by measurement during
health examination was 27.7% (25.5% for females and 30.1% for males) among
persons aged 15-84, with 47.5% of them being undiagnosed before the PHS.

Overall, 1.4% of persons aged 15 or above reported that they had
doctor-diagnosed stroke, with a higher prevalence in males (1.7%) than in
females (1.1%).

Coronary heart disease
Overall, 2.1% of persons aged 15 or above reported doctor-diagnosed
coronary heart disease, with a higher prevalence in males (2.6%) than in
females (1.6%).

Please note that the above-mentioned disease prevalence has not been
adjusted by risk factors among which excess salt intake is only one of
those.  For detailed result of PHS 2014/15, you may wish to refer to the
PHS 2014/15 survey report

Q2.  The DH has launched different campaigns and programmes to promote
healthy diet (i.e. a diet low in fat/oil, salt and sugar) in various
settings including pre-primary institutes, kindergarten, primary schools
and restaurants.  The FEHD has been the members of the task force and
steering committees to steer the implementation and provide ongoing
support to these campaigns and programmes. On the other hand, DH has
launched the “Salt Reduction Scheme for School Lunches” (Scheme) since the
2017/18 school year which aims to gradually reduce the average sodium
level of school lunches.  The DH has been working closely with the FEHD to
conduct the "Nutrient Testing of School Lunches" on a regular basis as one
of the measures to monitor the progress of the Scheme.

Q3.  Since PHS 2014/15, health examination of PHS has included estimation
on the mean daily salt intake of people in Hong Kong based on sodium
excretion measured from 24-hour urine collection, which facilitates
monitoring of daily salt intake of the local population. According to PHS
2014/15, the age-standardised mean intake of salt among persons aged 18-84
years was 8.8 grams per day (Crude mean: 8.8 grams). The corresponding
figures for male and female were 9.8 grams and 8.0 grams (Crude mean: 9.8
grams for male, 7.9 grams for female) respectively. About 86.3% of local
people aged 15 to 84 had salt intake in excess of WHO’s recommended limit
of less than 5 grams a day.

DH is conducting PHS 2020 at present and the survey results will be
available in due course.   Please see
[2]https://www.chp.gov.hk/en/features/37474... for the latest release.

Thank you.

Jeffrey HO
AA(DP)1  / DH
Tel: 2961 8943


Visible links
1. https://www.chp.gov.hk/en/static/51256.h...
2. https://www.chp.gov.hk/en/features/37474...

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