2015 World Hypertension Day – Have your BP measured and eat less salt

Every year since 2005, May 17th is celebrated as World Hypertension Day to raise public awareness about high blood pressure around the world. This year, the theme is ‘Know your Numbers'.

Hypertension is a leading risk factor associated with life threatening diseases such as stroke, heart attack and kidney disease. In China, 270 million people suffer from hypertension, or high blood pressure, with excessive salt consumption being directly linked to these numbers. Many people are unaware of this health problem.

To enhance people’s awareness of how high blood pressure can affect your health, The George Institute for Global Health at Peking University Health Science Center, hosted an event at the lobby of its office building to help people who worked in the same building increase their awareness of hypertension by measuring their blood pressure. Event volunteers also distributed a low-sodium salt substitute in a special-designed amount-controlled container to call for a less salty diet.

“World Hypertension Day is a great opportunity for people to become aware of their own blood pressure but also to highlight the issue of elevated blood pressure to their colleagues, friends or families,” said Dr. Maoyi Tian, Senior Research Fellow at The Institute.

“I’m very happy to attend this event and learn that my blood pressure is at a normal level,” said a lady who participated in the World Hypertension Day event.

“I know that salty food may cause hypertension, but sometimes it’s hard to know how much salt you actually eat. I really like this salt substitute container, each time you press it, you’ll get an accurate 1 gram of low sodium salt. I think it will definitely help reduce salt intake in my diet and I’ll also persuade my parents to eat less salt.”

Professor Bruce Neal, Senior Director of the Food Policy Division at The George Institute for Global Health, said that it was great to see so many people come to have their blood pressure measured.

“It’s great, but what we really want is not for people just have their blood pressure measured but actually make some changes.

“For people working in the office, they can think a little bit more carefully about what they eat and perhaps choose less salty food. If they are overweight, perhaps something with fewer calories; and if you can walk up stairs, that’s a good way to get your blood pressure down and stay a little bit healthier,” Professor Neal said.

Ms. Ruth Song, Finance Manager at The Institute, was one of the organizers of the event. She expressed her gratitude to all the staff who participated and contributed to the event.

“Celebrating this international event with all George Institute and George Clinical colleagues is a great and happy thing to do. We’ll throw more events in the future to promote our expertise in the field of public health to raise awareness around important public health issues.”