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Overview: Iran is launching a comprehensive national campaign aimed at promoting a healthy diet, with a specific focus on the benefits of iodized salt and dairy products. This initiative, part of a broader effort to combat non-communicable diseases, underscores the pivotal role diet plays in addressing health issues such as diabetes and high blood pressure.

Campaign Phases and Themes:

Salt Awareness Week (January 21-27):

Sunday, January 21 – Consume refined iodized salt and lessen salt intake.

Monday, January 22 – Sea salt and unrefined salts cause cancer.

Tuesday, January 23 – Salted food consumption promotes stomach cancer, osteoporosis, and high blood pressure.

Wednesday, January 24 – Watch out for hidden salt; it’s not just in food.

Thursday, January 25 – Add small amounts of refined iodized salt to food after cooking.

Friday, January 26 – Take the salt shaker off the table.

Saturday, January 27 – Colored salts (pink, blue, and purple) and rock salt endanger health.

Dairy Embrace Week (January 28 – February 4):

Sunday, January 28 – Drink two glasses of milk daily; better sleep with more dairy products.

Monday, January 29 – Low-fat dairy products lower the risk of osteoporosis.

Tuesday, January 30 – Milk is a nutritious snack to improve students’ physical growth and enhance learning ability.

Wednesday, January 31 – Consuming dairy products reduces the risk of colon cancer.

Thursday, February 1 – Dairy products help control blood pressure.

Friday, February 2 – Dairy products intake prevents shortness in children.

Saturday, February 3 – Yogurt consumption boosts the immune system.

Sunday, February 4 – Milk and dairy products are rich sources of calcium.

Campaign Impact:

Over 42 million people have participated in the national health campaign to date.

Screening has identified 796,840 individuals with probable hypertension and 445,803 with probable diabetes.

The project, themed “earlier awareness, better care,” aims to reduce deaths caused by non-communicable diseases.

The campaign includes free health care for diabetic and hypertensive patients through the family physician program.

Health Minister’s Perspective: Health Minister Bahram Einollahi emphasizes the campaign’s preventive nature, aiming to improve health literacy and create electronic health records for every Iranian. The focus on electronic health files will enable easy tracing of family histories, lifestyles, and disease patterns. Einollahi notes that over 70 percent of the country’s population is expected to participate in this groundbreaking initiative.

Impact on Non-Communicable Diseases:

Approximately 83 percent of hospital-registered deaths result from non-communicable diseases.

Cardiovascular diseases alone account for 300,000 annual deaths.

The campaign targets hypertension, affecting 32 percent of adults, with 60 percent unaware of their high blood pressure.

Around 30,000 deaths yearly occur due to diabetes, presenting a significant health concern.

By implementing the national health campaign, Iran aims to prevent half a million deaths from non-communicable diseases and 30,000 deaths from diabetes, emphasizing the crucial role of preventive health measures.

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