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Ontario Tech acknowledges the lands and people of the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation.

We are thankful to be welcome on these lands in friendship. The lands we are situated on are covered by the Williams Treaties and are the traditional territory of the Mississaugas, a branch of the greater Anishinaabeg Nation, including Algonquin, Ojibway, Odawa and Pottawatomi. These lands remain home to many Indigenous nations and peoples.

We acknowledge this land out of respect for the Indigenous nations who have cared for Turtle Island, also called North America, from before the arrival of settler peoples until this day. Most importantly, we acknowledge that the history of these lands has been tainted by poor treatment and a lack of friendship with the First Nations who call them home.

This history is something we are all affected by because we are all treaty people in Canada. We all have a shared history to reflect on, and each of us is affected by this history in different ways. Our past defines our present, but if we move forward as friends and allies, then it does not have to define our future.

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We need to talk: High dietary sodium intake and the risk to Canadians’ health

University’s JoAnne Arcand, PhD, explores innovative tools to help doctors, patients and the public take action on dietary dangers

Many Canadians have little or no idea as to how much sodium they consume on a daily basis.
Many Canadians have little or no idea as to how much sodium they consume on a daily basis.

In our fast-moving world, it’s easy to overlook that sodium is a huge component of many foods we love to eat. Snack food, pizza, deli meats, condiments, soups, cheeses and salad dressings are only a few examples of processed products often loaded with high amounts of sodium.

The trouble is many of us don’t stop to think before we eat. High-sodium diets cause increases in blood pressure and contribute to a wide range of health-related problems such as hypertension, cardiovascular disease and stroke.

University of Ontario Institute of Technology researcher and Registered Dietitian JoAnne Arcand, PhD, says patients—and doctors—tend to avoid talking about the reality of excessive salt intake because of time constraints.

“We know a lot about what kinds of diets are useful in treating high blood pressure, but research confirms many Canadians truly don’t realize how much sodium they consume,” says Dr. Arcand, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Health Sciences. “Adding to the problem is that sodium intake is generally not discussed in the doctor’s office,”

Dr. Arcand argues a different mindset is required to truly put salt on the conversation table. She believes technology can provide the reality check patients need. The same may also help doctors have an open discussion with their patients about diet.

The Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation (HSF) wants to explore Dr. Arcand’s ideas. The HSF will support her research over the next four years through its National New Investigator Award. HSF funding will help Dr. Arcand advance the sodium-risk message and uncover new methods to implement dietary recommendations for hypertension.

The key component of the research is an online Sodium Calculator that provides instant feedback on dietary sodium sources and volumes.

“Most sodium comes from processed (packaged) foods and restaurant foods, not from sodium (or salt) added at the table or during cooking,” says Dr. Arcand. “We believe the Sodium Calculator can help doctors talk to their patients about diet and help adults reduce their blood pressure to normal levels.”

In addition to determining if sodium intakes were reduced, the research will uncover if the Sodium Calculator helps doctors deliver better advice to their patients, and if the tool helps patients self-manage high blood pressure.

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Media contact
Bryan Oliver
Communications and Marketing
Ontario Tech University
905.721.8668 ext. 6709