Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from IJBNPA and BioMed Central.

Open Access Research

The association of knowledge, attitudes and behaviours related to salt with 24-hour urinary sodium excretion

Mary-Anne Land1*, Jacqui Webster1, Anthea Christoforou1, Claire Johnson1, Helen Trevena1, Frances Hodgins1, John Chalmers1, Mark Woodward1, Federica Barzi1, Wayne Smith3, Victoria Flood4, Paul Jeffery5, Caryl Nowson5 and Bruce Neal12

Author Affiliations

1 The George Institute for Global Health, Sydney Medical School, The University of Sydney, PO BOX M201, Missenden Road, Camperdown, Sydney, NSW, Australia

2 Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

3 New South Wales Health, Sydney, Australia

4 The Sydney University of Sydney and St Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney, Australia

5 Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia

For all author emails, please log on.

International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity 2014, 11:47  doi:10.1186/1479-5868-11-47

Published: 4 April 2014

Abstract

Aim

Salt reduction efforts usually have a strong focus on consumer education. Understanding the association between salt consumption levels and knowledge, attitudes and behaviours towards salt should provide insight into the likely effectiveness of education-based programs.

Methods

A single 24-hour urine sample and a questionnaire describing knowledge, attitudes and behaviours was obtained from 306 randomly selected participants and 113 volunteers from a regional town in Australia.

Results

Mean age of all participants was 55 years (range 20–88), 55% were women and mean 24-hour urinary salt excretion was 8.8(3.6) g/d. There was no difference in salt excretion between the randomly selected and volunteer sample. Virtually all participants (95%) identified that a diet high in salt can cause serious health problems with the majority of participants (81%) linking a high salt diet to raised blood pressure. There was no difference in salt excretion between those who did 8.7(2.1) g/d and did not 7.5(3.3) g/d identify that a diet high in salt causes high blood pressure (p = 0.1). Nor was there a difference between individuals who believed they consumed “too much” 8.9(3.3) g/d “just the right amount” 8.4(2.6) g/d or “too little salt” 9.1(3.7) g/d (p = 0.2). Likewise, individuals who indicated that lowering their salt intake was important 8.5(2.9) g/d vs. not important 8.8(2.4) g/d did not have different consumption levels (p = 0.4).

Conclusion

The absence of a clear association between knowledge, attitudes and behaviours towards salt and actual salt consumption suggests that interventions focused on knowledge, attitudes and behaviours alone may be of limited efficacy.

Keywords:
Salt; Urinary sodium excretion; Knowledge; Attitude; Behaviour