Findings from the first Hong Kong Total Diet Study - Mineral Consumption in the Population
  • The first Hong Kong Total Diet Study (1st HKTDS) commenced in 2010 with the aim to estimate dietary exposures of the Hong Kong population and assess any associated health risks. This article serves as a summary to report findings on mineral consumption released in December 2014.
    The study by Hong Kong Centre for Food Safety estimated dietary exposure of minerals in the Hong Kong general adult population (aged 20-84) by food sampling, laboratory analysis and looking at population based food consumption data. Any associated health risks were then assessed.  The scope of research included 13 minerals, namely boron, calcium, cobalt, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, sodium and zinc.
    Key findings include the following:

    The dietary intakes of calcium, iron and potassium were inadequate when compared to recommended intakes and may impose certain health risks

    • Calcium: The dietary intake of more than 90% of the adult population was below the recommended nutrient intake (RNI) established by World Health Organization (WHO).  Advice to public is to increase dietary intake of calcium from dairy products, beans and dark green vegetables to prevent an increased risk of osteoporosis.
    • Potassium: The dietary intake of about 60% of the population was below the recommended adequate intake (AI) established by the Chinese Nutrition Society (CNS) i.e. 2 g/day. Deficiency can cause conditions such as irregular heart rhythm, muscle weakness and irritability.
    • ·Iron: More than 80% of the population was below RNI established by CNS i.e. 12 mg/day for male, 20 mg/day for female aged between 18-49 and 12 mg/day for female aged 50 and above.  Inadequate iron may pose health risks such as anaemia and reduced immune function; young women and pregnant women are particularly more vulnerable.\

    The dietary intake of sodium was in excess (>60% of population) compared to the recommended 2 g/day by WHO and may increase risk of coronary heart disease.
    Dietary intakes of copper, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum and phosphorus of more than 20% of the adult population were inadequate. However, development of adverse health effects due to deficiency from these five minerals is uncommon.
    Dietary intakes of cobalt, boron, selenium and zinc were within recommendations.
    Implications – reinforcing the concept and Hong Kong dietitians’ continued actions:

    • Recommend balanced diets that help to offer a complete range of nutrients
    • To improve calcium intake, recommend consuming low fat dairy, beans and dark green vegetables; increase vitamin D intake and synthesis by more exposure to sunlight to increase calcium absorption; decrease inhibition on calcium absorption by consuming less caffeine and alcohol.
    • Increase dietary intake of iron by recommending more dark green vegetables, beans and nuts, and lean meat; highlight vitamin C which will increase absorption of plant source iron.
    • Recommend vegetables, fruits, beans and nuts that are rich in potassium to increase dietary intake.
    • Reduce dietary intake of sodium by reducing the use of condiments and sauces such as salt, soy sauce and oyster sauce, which are all extremely common in Chinese cooking; order food with less salt when eating out; choose prepackaged food with low sodium content by reading nutrition labels.

    More information on the full report can be found on the CFS website:
    Danica Yau
    Hong Kong Dietitians Association