Excessive consumption of dietary sodium is an important public health issue. Little is known about the knowledge, attitudes and behaviours related to sodium consumption among Canadians.
To examine knowledge, attitudes and behaviours related to sodium consumption among a sample of Canadians 35 to 50 years of age.
A random-digit-dial telephone survey was conducted among adults aged 35 to 50 years of age in two regions in Ontario. Logistic regression was used to examine the likelihood of having taken action in the past 30 days to reduce sodium consumption, and the likelihood that respondents were intending to reduce sodium in the next six months.
A total of 3130 interviews were completed. The majority of respondents were aware of excessive sodium consumption as a health issue and reported that they were taking action to reduce their dietary sodium intake. A large proportion of respondents did not correctly identify many foods as being high in sodium and, consequently, may have incorrectly believed they were consuming healthy amounts of sodium. Respondents who believed sodium reduction was important were more likely to have taken action to reduce sodium within the previous 30 days. Respondents who self-identified as consuming too much sodium were less likely to have taken action.
The findings of the present study suggest that in addition to policy changes designed to reduce the sodium content of foods, there is a need to address the low levels of knowledge surrounding sources of excessive sodium in popular Canadian foods, the importance of a reduced intake of sodium and the availability of lower-sodium alternatives.
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