Does dietary salt intake correlate with regional differences in the prevalence of hypertension in the Philippines?

Jorge A. Sison, De La Salle Medical and Health Sciences Institute


From 1997 to 1998, the Council on Hypertension of the Philippine Heart Association conducted a nationwide mass blood pressure (BP) screening project to determine the prevalence of hypertension (HPN) among the adult population (≥18 years old).1 A target population of 3,000 was to be randomly selected from the 13 regions of the country representing all areas and socio-economic (SE) classes A,B,C,D and E. Project volunteers conducted BP measurement and interview right in the subjects1 own homes. BP re-evaluation was done among those with elevated BP (≥140/90mmHg) with no previous history of HPN. Part of the risk profile assessment during the interview included daily intake of dietary salt. The responders were made to quantify their salt intake (salted dried fish or "daing" and salty condiments such as fish sauce or "patis" and "bagoong" and soy sauce or "toyo") by describing their frequency of intake as either "always", "sometimes", "rarely", or "never". A total of 3,901 subjects were included (Female=52%). Majority came from SE D (54%) and SE E (31%). Results showed HPN prevalence of 22% (Female=50.4%). HPN prevalence was found to be highest in regions VIII (30%), 9 (28%) and 12 (30%). Upon evaluation of their dietary salt intake, the same regions8,9,12 with the highest HPN prevalence also showed the highest frequency of salt intake - region VIII (43%), region 9 (46%) and region 12 (47%). This survey confirmed that in the Philippines, dietary salt intake is directly related to the prevalence of HPN, and therefore, reinforces the concept that salt is a contributing factor for HPN and salt restriction should be a mainstay in the management of HPN.