Salt Intake and Health Risk in Climate Change Vulnerable Coastal Bangladesh: What Role Do Beliefs and Practices Play?

Citation: Rasheed S, Siddique AK, Sharmin T, Hasan AMR, Hanifi SMA, Iqbal M, et al. (2016) Salt Intake and Health Risk in Climate Change Vulnerable Coastal Bangladesh: What Role Do Beliefs and Practices Play? PLoS ONE 11(4): e0152783. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0152783
Published: April 4, 2016

Vizag-BeachBackground: High salt consumption is an important risk factor of elevated blood pressure. In Bangladesh about 20 million people are at high risk of hypertension due to climate change induced saline intrusion in water. The objective of this study is to assess beliefs, perceptions, and practices associated with salt consumption in coastal Bangladesh.
Methods: The study was conducted in Chakaria, Bangladesh between April-June 2011. It was a cross sectional mixed method study. For the qualitative study 6 focus group discussions, 8 key informant interviews, 60 free listing exercises, 20 ranking exercises and 10 observations were conducted. 400 adults were randomly selected for quantitative survey. For analysis we used SPSS for quantitative data, and Anthropac and Nvivo for qualitative data.
Results: Salt was described as an essential component of food with strong cultural and religious roots. People described both health benefits and risks related to salt intake. The overall risk perception regarding excessive salt consumption was low and respondents believed that the cooking process can render the salt harmless. Respondents were aware that salt is added in many foods even if they do not taste salty but did not recognize that salt can occur naturally in both foods and water.
Conclusions: In the study community people had low awareness of the risks associated with excess salt consumption and salt reduction strategies were not high in their agenda. The easy access to and low cost of salt as well as unrecognised presence of salt in drinking water has created an environment conducive to excess salt consumption. It is important to design general messages related to salt reduction and test tailored strategies especially for those at high risk of hypertension.


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This entry was posted in Cardiovascular, Cardiovascular Featured 2, Nutrition and tagged , , .

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