MEDICAL CONSULTANT LINKS RISE IN HYPERTENSION AMONG TEENAGERS TO NOODLES
Noodles are staples for both children and adults. But it may be a major cause of death for the next generation.
A consultant practitioner in internal medicine at the Babcock University Teaching Hospital, Dr. Moji Ariyo has raised alarm over the rise of blood pressure cases among teenagers.
Dr. Ariyo believes that the increasing diagnosis of blood pressure among teenagers is linked to the high consumption rate of ‘sodium’ in Noodles seasoning.
Speaking to our correspondent in her office recently, Ariyo warned that if the trend is not checked, it will continue to pose a threat to the life expectancy of Nigeria’s youth.
In an ongoing study, Ariyo, who is also Head of Internal Medicine Department at the Benjamin Carson School of Medicine in Babcock University, said she has discovered that young people who should have a normal blood pressure of 120/80mmHg, now have blood pressure of 170/150 mmHg, which is highly detrimental to their health.
Her research targets two categories of students. Some who eats Noodles, and then will stop, and those who eat Noodles, and will continue. These categories of students will be checked for a period of three months, to see the effect of sodium on those who stopped, and those that continued.
She stated that the seasoning in Noodles is loaded with salt (Mano Sodium Glutanate MSG), which is a very potent source of sodium,
Mrs Ariyo warned that the daily amount of sodium needed in a person from all food sources is 1500mg. But Noodle seasoning alone contains between 650mg and 1000mg (milligram). A teenager who takes two packs of Noodles has already exceeded the daily allowed amount by 500mg.
Sodium is not totally bad; it has its significance and usefulness in the body. It controls water distribution throughout the body, aids muscle contraction, and supports transmission of nerve impulses. But large intake of sodium can cause hypertension, kidney disease, obesity, water retention and dehydration in the body.
According to Dr. Ariyo’s research, most teenagers do not drink as much water as they should to clear or balance the excess sodium in their bodies. They prefer to take sodas, which can also endanger their lives.
Reeling out factors that predispose students to large consumption of noodles, Ariyo noted that ‘‘one main problem on Babcock University campus is that students do not like the food served, and they tend to turn to a quick easy alternative, which is the noodles’’.
Speaking to our correspondent on why students prefer noodles to the food provided at the Cafeteria, Ayodele Adewunmi, a 400L Nursing student stated: ‘‘ I do not like the fact that all the food served is strictly vegetarian, and I do not like Tofu’’.
Dr. Ariyo advised that the University cafeteria can cook better, and they can also have more food varieties, so that students are tasting food variety and flavour, and not just salt. To accomplish this, the School wants to work closely with nutritionist to see how they can improve and enhance the flavour of food served naturally, without compromising with the health benefits.
Ariyo added that ‘‘the country’s diet is unhealthy, and if we are able to share the knowledge of healthy nutrition through the media and cookbooks, we can share to the world how to really eat a healthy diet; this will play a significant role in reducing hypertension in people’’.
She also advised parents to learn about healthy nutrition, because they play a very key role in the lives of their children. “What parents serve their children early in life will tell on their future,” she urged.
Meanwhile, Dr. Mojisola Ariyo, has said that exercise is important for youths in their mission towards a brighter future as it help in healthy memory performance.
Speaking to our correspondent, she stated that one of the major challenges with the young generation is that they have lost the culture of exercise and have fallen in love with the pleasure of recreation.
‘Exercise is a activity that only responsible people who recognise the need to keep their bodies on-the-go can indulge in’, she said.
Apart from aiding quick digestion and building the immune system, the expert noted that exercise can assist the memory, because the former increases good blood flow to the brain region.
‘One might find a student having a hard time with retaining what has been read and you just might be surprised to find the challenge to be a lack of exercise at the end of the situation’, she said ‘exercise is more than just a way to health.’
She expressed dissatisfaction to the level of exercising activities in the University since her arrival from the United States, disclosing that students, especially females are quite ‘heavy’ for their ages.
In a bid to curb excessive weight-gain among students, she had met with the Director of Sports for an early-morning exercise programme to be organised.
More so, Dr. Ariyo called for a revival of female-friendly exercising activities on campus. She maintained that good exercise will work wonders for female students as it would empower them to regulate menstrual cycles and maintain good figures.
She disclosed her wish for the University to have more fun activities included in the extracurricular programmes.
She added that some people are addicted to exercises and spend a ridiculous amount of time exercising. “This is not normal”, she stressed, as it is a result of mental disorder and mostly occurs in Caucasian and White women who exercise till they become anorexic – a medical term for people who are unhealthily lean.
by Chigozi Eti, Doyinsola Orimoloye and Ogaga Akpederi