EDITORIAL: Healthy diets require effort

There are many ways government can spend our tax dollars badly – and many ways to spend them well.

Would the B.C. government spend our money wisely if it launched a campaign about our health, to teach us something we should already know?

Don’t answer too quickly, because the answer could be yes.

The first winner of the Healthy Families BC contest, Sandy Gravelle of Nanaimo, correctly answered a question posed by the Ministry of Health.

“How much sodium, represented in cups of salt, does the average British Columbian consume each year?”

The correct answer is 11, the ministry revealed. To stay healthy, it added, we need less than five.

We consume, on average, twice as much sodium as our bodies need, which can lead to high blood pressure, kidney disease and stroke.

Most of us have at least a vague idea that ingesting too much salt is bad for us. Many also realize that too much sugar carries its own risks, including increasing the odds of obesity, heart disease, diabetes and high cholesterol.

Chronic diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease are the largest causes of death and disability in B.C., and are also a huge cost to the health-care system.

Achieving and maintaining a healthy diet takes willpower, diligence and knowledge.

Prepared food for sale often has dramatically high salt and sugar content, because it makes the food taste better – and keeps you coming back for more.

Still, forewarned is forearmed and public health is at stake.

Even if you don’t win one of the prizes, you might register at http://healthyfamiliesbc.ca/communities/register.

The government is actually helping you this time.

– Comox Valley Record

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