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Nutrients 2017, 9(7), 698; doi:10.3390/nu9070698

Taste, Salt Consumption, and Local Explanations around Hypertension in a Rural Population in Northern Peru

1
CRONICAS Center of Excellence in Chronic Diseases, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Av. Armendáriz 497, Miraflores, Lima 18, Peru
2
Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London WC1E 7HT, UK
3
School of Medicine, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Lima 18, Peru
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 7 April 2017 / Revised: 31 May 2017 / Accepted: 28 June 2017 / Published: 5 July 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Reducing Dietary Sodium and Improving Human Health)
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Abstract

Interventions to promote behaviors to reduce sodium intake require messages tailored to local understandings of the relationship between what we eat and our health. We studied local explanations about hypertension, the relationship between local diet, salt intake, and health status, and participants’ opinions about changing food habits. This study provided inputs for a social marketing campaign in Peru promoting the use of a salt substitute containing less sodium than regular salt. Qualitative methods (focus groups and in-depth interviews) were utilized with local populations, people with hypertension, and health personnel in six rural villages. Participants were 18–65 years old, 41% men. Participants established a direct relationship between emotions and hypertension, regardless of age, gender, and hypertension status. Those without hypertension established a connection between eating too much/eating fried food and health status but not between salt consumption and hypertension. Participants rejected dietary changes. Economic barriers and high appreciation of local culinary traditions were the main reasons for this. It is the conclusion of this paper that introducing and promoting salt substitutes require creative strategies that need to acknowledge local explanatory disease models such as the strong association between emotional wellbeing and hypertension, give a positive spin to changing food habits, and resist the “common sense” strategy of information provision around the causal connection between salt consumption and hypertension. View Full-Text
Keywords: hypertension; low-sodium diet; Peru; health knowledge; attitudes and practices; qualitative methods hypertension; low-sodium diet; Peru; health knowledge; attitudes and practices; qualitative methods
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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Pesantes, M.A.; Diez-Canseco, F.; Bernabé-Ortiz, A.; Ponce-Lucero, V.; Miranda, J.J. Taste, Salt Consumption, and Local Explanations around Hypertension in a Rural Population in Northern Peru. Nutrients 2017, 9, 698.

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