High sodium intake increases the risk of cardiovascular disease. Given the importance of behavioral changes to reducing sodium intake, this study aims to investigate the stages of change and the differences in cognitive and behavioral characteristics by stage in Korean consumers. Adult participants (N
= 3892) completed a questionnaire on the stages of behavioral change, recognition of social efforts, outcome expectancy, barriers to practice, nutrition knowledge and dietary behaviors, and self-efficiency related to reduced sodium intake. The numbers of participants in each stage of behavioral change for reducing sodium intake was 29.5% in the maintenance stage, 19.5% in the action stage, and 51.0% in the preaction stage that included the precontemplation, contemplation, and preparation stages. Multiple logistic regression showed that the factors differentiating the three stages were recognizing a supportive social environment, perceived barriers to the practice of reducing sodium intake, and self-efficacy to be conscious of sodium content and to request less salt when eating out. Purchasing experience of sodium-reduced products for salty foods, knowledge of the recommended intake of salt and the difference between sodium and salt, and improving dietary habits of eating salted fish, processed food, and salty snacks were factors for being in the action stage versus the preaction stage. These findings suggest that tailored intervention according to the characteristics of each stage is helpful in reducing sodium intake.
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