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China Salt Substitute Study (CSSS) in Tibet

Project status: 
Archived

The high level of salt consumption in the average Tibetan diet is thought to be a major contributor to recently uncovered levels of high blood pressure among Tibetans. Previous studies have shown that Tibetans have a very high daily salt intake, on average more than 20 grams of salt per day- that is nearly four times the recommended amount of salt per day.

In 2001 at least 40% of Tibetans aged over 40 years old living in the city of Lhasa had high blood pressure; the highest level in all of China.

Cardiovascular diseases, such as heart attack and stroke, are already killing more people every year than any other disease on the planet. The forecast does not look promising, unless effective solutions are set in motion.

Aims

A previous Salt Substitute Study performed by researchers at The George Institute, China found that replacing regular salt with a low-sodium, high-potassium substitute significantly reduced high blood pressure. However, there are still questions to be asked about whether a salt substitute is culturally acceptable as well as economically viable in Tibet.

Methods

The China Salt Substitute Study (CSSS) in Tibet will test a salt substitute that is simple to use and effective in reducing the amount of high-sodium salt Tibetans consume.  By helping Tibetans cut down on the amount of sodium in their diets, this salt substitute will lower their risk of high blood pressure, which is absolutely critical to preventing heart attacks and stroke.

Results

By reducing salt intake through the development of a salt-substitute, there is clear potential to tackle the dangerous levels of high blood pressure, not just for Tibetans today, but for future generations of Tibetan children and grandchildren.