Hong Kong People should adopt

the DASH diet

Hypertension is a common health problem in Hong Kong as well as the rest of the world. According to the population health survey 2003-2004 carried out by the Hong Kong Department of Health, 27% of the population aged 15 or above has hypertension. The percentage increased to 73% for those aged 75 or above.

The main health hazard lies in the complications of hypertension, namely: stroke, heart attack and kidney failure. With timely treatment of the hypertension, the complications can be prevented or reduced.

Treatment of hypertension includes life style changes like stopping smoking, regular exercise and a healthy diet. Medications will be needed if the treatment goal is not reached despite all those measures. Scientific research by the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute in USA showed that a diet rich in certain nutrients could prevent or reduce hypertension. This diet is called the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension). A person should take a diet rich in potassium, magnesium and calcium and high in fruits, vegetables & low fat dairy foods, and also rich in fiber. The diet should also be high in whole grains, poultry, fish and nuts while being low in fat and red meat content, sweets and sugar-containing drinks. The diet reduced systolic blood pressure by 6 mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure by 3 mm Hg in patients with normal blood pressure. Those with hypertension dropped by 11 mm Hg and 6 mm Hg respectively. In addition to its effect on blood pressure, it is considered a well-balanced approach to eating for the general public. If combined with salt (sodium) restriction, the blood pressure lowering effect is further enhanced.

People in Hong Kong is taking too little fruits and vegetables but too much salt. The WHO recommended a salt intake of less than 5 g/day (about one teaspoonful). According to surveys conducted by the Faculty of Medicine of The Chinese University of Hong Kong, the salt intake in Hong Kong people was much higher and on the rise. In healthy adults, the average salt intake increased from 8.0 g/day during 1989-1991 to 9.4 g/day during 1996-1998 and 9.9 g/day during 2000-2002. Following an increase in dietary salt intake, the kidney normally synthesizes dopamine to increase salt excretion blood vessel relaxation. This dopamine response is not seen in Chinese. Thus Chinese are prone to dietary salt-induced hypertension.

Although the DASH diet can prevent or reduce hypertension and hence protect the kidneys, for those patients with significant kidney failure, they might not be able to excrete the potassium and the DASH may need to be modified. Such patients should consult their own doctors.

People should take care of their own health. Apart from regular exercise, one should adopt healthy eating habit. A nutritious diet is not expensive and it can be delicious. The Hong Kong Medical Association, in conjunction with the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, the Hong Kong Baptist Hospital and the Hong Kong Nephrology group, has designed a set of Chinese DASH recipes. They can be downloaded from the HKMA website http://www.hkma.org/DASH/index-e.htm or www.kidney.hk/DASH. The video can be seen at www.facebook.com/DASH4HK. Dr. Alvin Y. S. CHAN, Vice-President of HKMA, composed a theme song titled "Healthy Ways of Eating" for DASH diet. (Lyric / Theme song)

Although the DASH diet can prevent or reduce hypertension and hence protect the kidneys, for those patients with significant kidney failure, they might not be able to excrete the potassium and the DASH may need to be modified. Such patients should consult their own doctors.

Press Conference on
Hong Kong People should adopt DASH Diet

The press conference of Hong Kong People should adopt DASH Diet was held on 23 September 2011. During the press conference, we have introduced the practical tips of DASH diet, shown some of the DASH diet recipes and a tasting session was arranged. Press release

Bringing Better Health to Our Community

The Hong Kong Medical Association (HKMA), the Kowloon Central Cluster of the Hospital Authority, the Hong Kong Baptist Hospital and the Hong Kong Nephrology Group, have co-organized the "Bringing Better Health to Our Community" Community Service Day on Sunday, 23 October 2011 in the Hospital Authority Head Office. Officiating Guests included Dr. York CHOW, GBS, JP, Secretary for Food and Health, Dr. Amy CHIU, JP, Assistant Director of Health, Dr. HO Chung Ping, MH, JP, HKMA Community Network Central Coordinator, Dr. HUNG Chi Tim, Cluster Chief Executive of Kowloon Central Cluster of HA and Dr. Raymond CHEN, Chief Executive Officer of the Hong Kong Baptist Hospital. Over 200 participants attended the event. There were health talks on the importance of early detection and treatment of hypertension and diabetes mellitus, guidelines on DASH diet and early detection of renal diseases. Medical check-up stations on blood pressure, blood sugar, urine protein and abdominal circumference were also set up in the venue. A group of doctors provided counseling and medical service to the participants.