MOH News
MOH Calls for Developing Systems to Reduce the Rate of the Chronic Disease Spread
28 January 2014
The Ministry of Health (MOH) took the initiative of holding a forum for seven governmental bodies aiming at crafting national strategies working on adopting systems, policies, and procedures instrumental in improving the healthy lifestyle in the Saudi society, lowering the rate of the chronic disease spread, and reducing the national burden of morbidity, of which the diabetes, cardiac diseases, atheroma, hypertension, stroke, the blood   cholesterol level increase account for the highest proportions.
This step comes as part of the MOH's efforts and its effective role in maintaining the health and society safety. It also coincides with the initiatives adopted by the international health organizations and bodies, spearheaded by the World Health Organization (WHO), which recommended following the healthy lifestyle, through crafting national strategies to lower the rates of salt consumption in every state by 30% by the advent of 2025. Meanwhile, indicators underline that reducing the salt consumption by five gram daily leads to lowering the rates of stroke injury by 23% and reducing the rates of cardiac and artery diseases by 17%.
In the meantime, the entire bodies hugely supported the MOH's efforts and its endeavor to adopt systems and policies contributing, Allah willing, to lowering the rate of the chronic disease spread and reducing the morbidity burden as regards the national level. They stressed their support for all the procedures and steps taken in that regard and working on enhancing the synergistic efforts in service of the public interest.
Within the same vein, the MOH boosts the importance of working on mass intervention; especially in terms of the governmental bodies and civil society associations. This aims to enhance the MOH's vision towards creating health-educated society realizing the link between food and health and risk factors of developing the chronic diseases andembrace systems and plans strongly limiting getting injured with the chronic diseases. 
Based on these givens, during the next month, the seven representatives of the governmental bodies: the MOH, Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Culture and Media, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Food and Drug Authority, and Grain Silos and Flour Mills Authority are to study these issues, view the international best practices, and what was recommended by the WHO. This aims to gradually reduce the salt and fats in food, label all the food products, as well as the food vitamins. Further, the convened parties are going to work on yielding strategic recommendations serving the Kingdom's health developmental goals. 
The MOH along with the other concerned bodies are planning to embrace systems reducing salt (sodium chloride), by launching a joint workshop with the concerned bodies, giant companies, and bread makers aiming at commitment to lowering the salt by 10% as an initial phase. It is to be followed by other phases; in order to reach the worldly-recommended30%goal. This comes as salt is considered one of the prime factors causing blood pressure rise and artery diseases. On the other hand, the death rateresulting from the cardiac and artery diseases in the Kingdom is estimated at 42% of the total deaths.  
Moreover, having conducted an exhaustive study with the concerned bodies, the MOH eyes the importance of raising the vitamin D level in milk and dairy productsand conducting field survey in a way that addresses the needs of the Saudi society. Thus, the field results of the  national survey for the health information of the non-communicable diseases of 1434H in the Kingdom showed that 50% of the population has less than acceptable level of vitamin D.
Within the same context, the MOH put emphasis on the importance of lowering the level of fats in food through stressing on the importance of putting into effect the specifications accredited by the Food and Drug Authority to that effect. And the specifications are to include the national strategy for food and physical activity, as well as emphasizing the importance of activating the accredited specifications in that regard and the regulatory role of the concerned bodies. 
Finally, the MOH extended its thanks and appreciation to the participating bodies and lauded their response to the MOH's initiatives and what itimplementsin terms of programs, through which it seeks to boost the healthy lifestyle, reduce the rates of the chronic disease injury, and activate the heath awarenessactivities.

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