Experts tackles myths surrounding salt, high blood pressure, heart disease and kidney disease

(WXYZ) - The myths surrounding salt, high blood pressure, heart disease and kidney disease have many of us scratching our heads. How much is too much? If I don't have high blood pressure, why worry about sodium? Low-sodium cooking tastes bland, right? If I just cut out table salt, will I lower my blood pressure? These are just some of the common questions so many people struggle with, and during March – designated both National Kidney Month and National Nutrition Month - Health Alliance Plan (HAP) experts can provide the answers.

Along with the newly launched HAP Speakers Bureau, freely offering health experts to the community to speak on issues such as kidney disease, heart health, healthy eating, low-sodium diets, weight management and workplace wellness, HAP is offering a number of health and wellness resources to members and the community. These include:

  • A Taste of Health, low-sodium cooking classes for older members; the first will be held on March 27.
  • Free Enhance Fitness classes for older adults in the community in partnership with the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan
  • Free after-school cooking classes for children aged 8-14 years called Ready, Set, Cook
  • Cook eKitchen™, a free healthy cooking video website for children and their families, launched last year, and available to the entire community

Around 26 million people in the United States have chronic kidney disease and of that number, 940,000 live in Michigan.  According to the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan, more than 70% of all kidney failure caused by diabetes or high blood pressure could be prevented or delayed by eating healthy, getting exercise, and taking the right medications.  African Americans and Hispanics are particularly at risk of kidney disease; of the more than 80,000 people on the national waiting list for a kidney transplant, 35 percent are African-American and nearly 19 percent are Hispanic, although respectively they make up only 13 percent and 16 percent of the U.S. population.

More information on HAP programs:

Request a HAP health and wellness speaker for your event at www.hap.org/speakers

A full schedule of Enhance Fitness classes is available at:  www.hap.org/health/enhance_fitness.php

A video on Ready, Set, Cook can be accessed at: www.hap.org/health/programs/ready_set_cook/index.php

Children – and their parents – can access healthy recipes with videos at: www.hap.org/cookekitchen

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