Call to Cut Salt and Sugar in NT for Curbing Kidney Disease

kidney disease

Given the high rate of kidney disease in remote Australian communities, experts have urged food companies in the region to reduce the salt and sugar content of  the basic foods they supply. The advice came from a group of health experts who came together for a function ahead of the World Kidney Day on March 10.

Professor Alan Cass of the Menzies School of Health Research said lowering the cost of healthy food in remote areas was not adequate. He said end-stage kidney disease is still 30 times higher in Northern Territory (NT), than the rest of Australia, reports The ABC.

Cass suggested the health sector to partner with food manufacturers in ensuring lower salt content in items like bread and processed meat. They are the major contributors to kidney and heart diseases.

The rate of kidney disease in NT is highest in Australia and the world. Renal disease continues to be a major issue with the indigenous population, particularly the young.

“These are mothers and fathers with children, people who might otherwise be in employment if they weren’t very unwell,” Professor Cass said.

He said the new initiatives in the food supply chain will not bother people as they eat and enjoy with lower salt content without even knowing it. He also urged schools to take new initiatives so that kids are involved in programs on healthy food.

The federal and territory governments have already stepped up efforts to bolster treatment facilities for NT people including free dialysis. In July 2015, $25 million was injected into the cause by the Federal and state governments.

Meanwhile, an expert cautioned that sugar-laden soft drinks are a huge risk for children in developing kidney disease.

“Our challenge is to overcome the impact of the multimillion dollar advertising barrage aimed at increasing children and teenagers’ consumption of soft drinks,” said Anne Wilson, Kidney Health Australia’s chief executive.

She said any child who drinks a 600 ml bottle of soft drink will be taking 16 teaspoons of sugar. Wilson was speaking at a function related to the World Kidney Day.

Australian and New Zealand Paediatric Nephrology Association chairman Dr Joshua Kausman also advised people to be careful about obesity and high blood pressure as they are the major risks in developing kidney and heart diseases, reports News Corp.

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