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Nutrients 2017, 9(11), 1238; doi:10.3390/nu9111238

Evaluation of a Mass-Media Campaign to Increase the Awareness of the Need to Reduce Discretionary Salt Use in the South African Population

Centre for Excellence in Nutrition (CEN), Faculty of Health Sciences, North-West University, Potchefstroom 2520, South Africa
Chronic Disease Initiative for Africa, University of Cape Town, Private Bag X3 Observatory, Cape Town 7925, South Africa
Biostatistics Unit, South African Medical Research Council, Tygerberg, Cape Town 7505, South Africa
Non-Communicable Diseases Research Unit, South African Medical Research Council, Tygerberg, Cape Town 7505, South Africa
School of Medicine, Faculty of Science, Medicine and Health, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, NSW 2522, Australia
Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute, Wollongong, NSW 2522, Australia
MQ Market Intelligence, 5 Windward Turn, Atlantic Beach, Cape Town 7441, South Africa
Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa, Unit 5B, 5th Floor, Graphic Centre, 5 Buiten Street, Cape Town 8001, South Africa
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 11 October 2017 / Revised: 2 November 2017 / Accepted: 7 November 2017 / Published: 12 November 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Reducing Dietary Sodium and Improving Human Health)
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The South African strategic plan to reduce cardiovascular disease (CVD) includes reducing population salt intake to less than 5 g/day. A mass media campaign was undertaken to increase public awareness of the association between high salt intake, blood pressure and CVD, and focused on the reduction of discretionary salt intake. Community based surveys, before and after the campaign, were conducted in a cohort of black women aged 18–55 years. Questions on knowledge, attitudes and beliefs regarding salt use were asked. Current interest in engaging with salt reduction behaviors was assessed using the “stage of change” model. Five hundred fifty women participated in the baseline study and 477 in the follow-up survey. Most of the indicators of knowledge, attitudes and behavior change show a significant move towards considering and initiating reduced salt consumption. Post intervention, significantly more participants reported that they were taking steps to control salt intake (38% increased to 59.5%, p < 0.0001). In particular, adding salt while cooking and at the table occurred significantly less frequently. The findings suggest that mass media campaigns may be an effective tool to use as part of a strategy to reduce discretionary consumption of salt among the population along with other methods. View Full-Text
Keywords: salt reduction; mass-media public health campaign; salt strategy salt reduction; mass-media public health campaign; salt strategy

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Wentzel-Viljoen, E.; Steyn, K.; Lombard, C.; De Villiers, A.; Charlton, K.; Frielinghaus, S.; Crickmore, C.; Mungal-Singh, V. Evaluation of a Mass-Media Campaign to Increase the Awareness of the Need to Reduce Discretionary Salt Use in the South African Population. Nutrients 2017, 9, 1238.

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