Nestlé Cameroon organized a symposium on 12 March 2021 on the theme "the right use of salt for a healthy and balanced diet". It was on the occasion of the 12th Scientific Congress of the Cameroonian Society of Cardiology, held from 10 to 12 March 2021, in Douala and brought together health professionals, government experts, teachers, researchers as well as representatives of the private sector and the media.
The aim of the symposium was to open discussion with the scientific community of cardiologists on the importance of responsible salt consumption for the health and well-being of individuals and families in Cameroon. The symposium was moderated by Dr. Audrey MONKAM, Cardiologist at the Gynecological and Pediatric Hospital Douala, Prof. François ZAMBOU, Head of Department of Physiological Sciences and Biochemistry at the Faculty of Medicine and Pharmaceutical Sciences of the University of Dschang and Coordinator of the Professional Master in Nutrition in Public Health, Dietetics and Nutritional Education of the University of Dschang. Participants were educated on the role of salt and its benefits in the body; Health risks and consequences of under or excessive consumption of salt and tips for proper salt intake in a healthy and balanced diet in Cameroon.
Excessive salt consumption is considered one of the risk factors for high blood pressure. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 1.13 billion people worldwide have high blood pressure and two-thirds live in low- and middle-income countries.
In Cameroon, it is estimated that the prevalence of high blood pressure is about 30% of the adult population and this figure could rise to 40% by 2025 if nothing is done. Therefore, it is important to promote responsible salt consumption in communities. The symposium was able to highlight the following key points:
- Sodium is an essential nutrient, necessary for the normal functioning of the body's cells;
- WHO recommends consumption of less than 5g per day (equivalent to one teaspoon of salt per day) to prevent cardiovascular disease; Health professionals need to educate consumers about the need to reduce salt consumption on a daily basis;
- Salt is good for the heart, but consumed to excess poses danger to health.
The minutes of this symposium will be formally shared with the participants of the Congress including the Ministry of Public Health, the Inter-ministerial Committee to Combat Malnutrition, the Cameroonian Society of Cardiology, the Cameroonian Nutrition Society and other stakeholders.
This symposium is in line with Nestlé's purpose to unlock the power of food to improve the quality of life for everyone today, and for generations to come.