According to the Chinese Nutrition society, on average, Chinese people consume roughly 12 grams of sodium per day. Those living in northern regions consume more salt than those in the south, while rural residents consume more salt than urban residents. Those living in northeastern provinces consume an average of 19 grams of sodium. Residents of Beijing consume around 15 grams, those living in Shanghai consume roughly 9 grams, and in Guangdong Province the daily average is 7 grams.
Chang Cuiqing, a nutritionist, says that daily salt consumption should not exceed six grams.
"If we consume 6 grams of table salt daily, in addition to that which is absorbed from food, is sufficient. Any excess could potentially be harmful."
According to Jia Jianbin, a nutrition expert, the present national average of 12 grams per day refers only to salt which is added or measurable. According to Jia, there is also immeasurable sodium, the amounts of which are consumed daily are unknown.
"Sodium exists in almost every kind of food naturally--even in fresh produce. Even if we don't add a grain of salt to our food, we are still consuming it."
Although nutritionists say that minerals build bone mass, while salt increases bone strength, over-consumption of either is harmful. High salt consumption can result in a range of health problems, including heart attacks, osteoporosis, asthma and high blood pressure. According to nutrition expert Gu Dongfeng, high salt intake, along with smoking and obesity, is also a major cause of hypertension, which has increased sharply in China to hit 160 million.
"By 2025, in line with an aging population, we expect that roughly 300 million people suffer from hypertension in China. If we don't focus on prevention in order to control to this disease now, especially in educating people to decrease their salt intake, this could turn into a serious problem."
Experts suggest that a nationwide effort to decrease salt intake should be implemented as soon as possible, while highlighting the dangers of excessive salt intake.
For CRI, I'm Wu Jia.
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