Context: Hypertension is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease and contributes to nearly half of all cardiovascular disease–related deaths in the United States. Even small reductions in sodium intake may lower blood pressure, help prevent the onset of hypertension, or help control blood pressure among hypertensive adults. Current nationally recommended strategies to reduce sodium intake include increasing public awareness about the amount of sodium added to processed and packaged foods and the health outcomes of a high-sodium diet.
Objective: To assess knowledge and behaviors related to sodium consumption among Shawnee County, Kansas, adults.
Design: Multicomponent survey, including random digit–dialed landline telephone interview, clinic-measured blood pressure, and a 24-hour dietary recall, conducted during April-November 2011.
Setting and Participants: Population-based sample of noninstitutionalized adults 18 years and older living in households with landline telephones in Shawnee County, Kansas.
Main Outcome Measures: Knowledge about food sources of sodium and the link between sodium intake and hypertension; consumption of foods away from home and selected high-sodium foods; and addition of salt to foods.
Results: Eighty-three percent of adults strongly agreed or agreed that most of the sodium we eat comes from packaged, processed, store-bought, and restaurant foods, and 93.0% thought that a high-salt diet could cause hypertension. Adults ate slightly more than 3 meals prepared outside the home per week, on average, and 1 in 4 adults added salt very often in cooking or preparing meals. Mean sodium intake among Shawnee County adults was 3508 mg per day.
Conclusion: Despite extensive knowledge regarding food sources of sodium and the link between sodium intake and high blood pressure, mean sodium intake among Shawnee County adults exceeds current recommendations. The Shawnee County Sodium Reduction in Communities Program is currently implementing interventions that support access to and availability of lower-sodium options in Shawnee County.
This article discusses knowledge and behaviors related to sodium consumption and blood pressure status of a large sample of Shawnee County, Kansas, adults, using the 2011 Sodium Reduction in Communities Shawnee County Survey.
Bureau of Health Promotion, Kansas Department of Health and Environment (Drs Welsh and Perveen and Ms Clayton), and Shawnee County Health Agency (Mr Hedberg), Topeka, Kansas.
Correspondence: Ericka M. Welsh, PhD, Bureau of Health Promotion, Kansas Department of Health and Environment, 1000 SW Jackson St, Ste 230, Topeka, KS 66612 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
This work was supported in part by a cooperative agreement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (U50 DP003072). The findings and conclusions in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The authors report no conflicts of interest and have no financial disclosures.
The authors thank Ms Ginger Taylor and the Bureau of Health Promotion Health Risk Studies Section team for their assistance with data collection and management; Shawnee County Health Agency staff for their assistance with data collection, as well as Ms Ashley Muninger and the Shawnee County Sodium Leadership Team for their oversight and implementation of the Kansas Sodium Reduction in Communities Project.