Lessons from a grain of salt

Salt is something that many people in the world take for granted. The anthropology perspective is that anything taken for granted deserves closer analytical attention. Two recently published studies shed light on the importance of access to salt and its effects on human health.

Salt mounds in Sudan. Creative Commons License on Flickr

A team of multidisciplinary researchers examined people’s acecss to salt/iodized salt during and after the armed conflict in south Sudan. After the 2005 peace agreement, people’s access to salt/iodized salt increased substantially. Iodine is an important factor in human growth and development, and reducing iodine deficiency is one of the Millennium Development Goals.

In a study conducted in 12 villages in southern India, findings show that access to salt in the diet has different effects on men and women, depending on class. Among men and women with higher education and class levels, higher salt intake occurs. It is associated with increased hypertension among men but not women.

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