Experience exchanging for the School-based salt reduction project and award event of the Children’s Art Contest for 2021 World Hypertension Day in Beijing

Experience exchanging for the School-based salt reduction project and award event of the Children’s Art Contest for 2021 World Hypertension Day in Beijing

On 10 June 2021, an experience exchange conference was undertaken in relation to the school-based salt reduction component of Action on Salt China (ASC), co-organised by the Chinese Center for Health Education(CCHE) and the George Institute for Global Health (China), was held in Beijing. Representatives from the education and health departments of Shijiazhuang in Hebei Province, Luzhou in Sichuan Province and Yueyang in Hunan Province, participated in the event through online video conferencing. The conference also provided an opportunity to award certificates to schoolchildren from these three cities, as part of the World Hypertension League, for winners of the Children’s Art Contest for 2021 World Hypertension Day.

In the opening speech, Li Changning, Secretary of the Party Committee and Director of the CCHE, mentioned that China's per capita daily salt intake reached 10.5 grams, far exceeding the WHO's recommended standard (less than 5 grams). Therefore, it is very important to undertake salt reduction health education in children and adolescents during their critical period of growth and development to ensure ongoing healthy lifestyles and behaviours.

According to Zhang Puhong, Associate Director of the George Institute for Global Health (China), the project covers 54 primary schools in Shijiazhuang, Luzhou and Yueyang. Over the past three years, the project has yielded significant results, with children and parents experiencing a significant reductions in salt intake and blood pressure. At the same time, a mobile health information platform was developed to establish a school-student-family interactive model, accumulating valuable experience in conducting school health education.  

The project has received strong support from the local authorities. Jia Zhiqiang, Deputy Director of the Education Bureau of Chang'an District, Shijiazhuang city, introduced that 18 schools in Chang'an District have participated in. In addition to disseminating knowledge on salt reduction, it also spread knowledge on various aspects such as rational nutrition, overweight and obesity prevention, and scientific eye use. It provides a good model for future interventions on primary school students' health issues,

Li Jiayi, head of the Safety Department of Yueyang Education and Sports Bureau, introduced that 18 primary schools and 198 families with nearly 600 people in Yueyang city have participated in the project. Over the past three years, more than 200 salt reduction posters were placed in public places of schools, more than 400 salt reduction manuals were distributed, and 12 salt reduction classes were held. All this has resulted in a significant reduction in salt consumption compared to their pre-participations for many families.

Wei Deqing, Deputy Director of the Luzhou CDC, said that the project which was carried out simultaneously in three counties in Luzhou,  has not only helped students develop awareness of "intaking less salt"; but has also helped their families change to a low sodium diet. The project's "Internet+" method played a leading role for the city’s and even for the whole province’s health education and promotions.

During the conference, representatives for schoolteachers, parents and the children, also shared their experience on salt reduction. In the future, the school-based salt reduction practices will be scaled up in more areas of China.