Students learnt that they should prioritise their health and lower salt intake to not more than two teaspoons per day.

Students at Wits University were forced to confront their salt intake and the impact on their health during a salt awareness week which took place from Tuesday, March 3 to Friday, March 6. A series of events hosted  by Bidvest catering services at a number of university dining halls, placed the hazards of high salt consumption under the microscope. 

“In South Africa, the recommended daily allowance is 5g and that is actually one teaspoon of salt, and we are taking much more than that,” said Neroshnee Govender, a dietitian who participated in the events. 

Govender told Wits Vuvuzela that despite information being excessively available, people are still misinformed. “It [salt] contributes to what we call ‘lifestyle diseases’ which involve diabetes, cholesterol, high blood pressure, hypertension and obesity.” 

“Stay away from processed food because the salt quantity is high,” she said. “Checking your BP regularly is also important because it may cause strokes, kidney failures and death, especially when left undiagnosed.”  Govender added that an optimal BP reading for adults is 120/80 mmHg.

Ashley Kunutu, a second-year BA general student said, “I eat here (at Jubilee Hall), I just eat what they give to us and I don’t know how much salt there is in our food, so there’s no way I can be mindful of the salt quantity I consume”. 

Kunutu told Wits Vuvuzela that health education is not readily accessible, saying “I didn’t even know that it was salt week and I’m always on social media”.

The dining hall operations officer, Mphele Netshilema, told Wits Vuvuzela, “we host such events to bring awareness about the foods that we put in our bodies,” she said. “We intend on raising awareness on a continual basis because a healthy lifestyle requires practice”. 

FEATURED IMAGEThe Wits community is educated about salt and how they can lead a healthier lifestyle. Photo: Studio. 

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