Public Health Nutrition

Research Papers

Knowledge, attitudes and behaviour of Greek adults towards salt consumption: a Hellenic Food Authority project

Georgios Marakisa1 c1, Eirini Tsigaridaa1, Spyridoula Milaa1 and Demosthenes B Panagiotakosa2

a1 Hellenic Food Authority, Nutrition Policy and Research Directorate, 124 Kifisias Avenue and 2 Iatridou Street, Athens, TK 11526, Greece

a2 Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Harokopio University, Athens, Greece

Abstract

Objective To investigate the knowledge, attitudes and behaviour of Greek adults towards salt as well as their differences with respect to gender, age and level of education.

Design Cross-sectional, observational survey.

Setting Voluntary participation to a telephone interview, using a seventeen-item questionnaire.

Subjects Greek adults aged over 25 years (n 3609), nationally representative according to age, gender and geographical distribution of the Greek population, were interviewed.

Results More women of all age groups compared with men reported adding salt during cooking (P < 0·001), while less reported adding salt on the plate (P < 0·001). Also, more women believed that salt added during cooking was the main source of salt in the diet (P < 0·001). Participants aged 25–34, 35–44 and 45–54 years old had better knowledge of the harmful effects of salt on health compared with the 55+ years age group (P = 0·002, P = 0·001, P < 0·001, respectively); respondents in the aforementioned age groups also knew that children should consume less salt than adults compared with 55+ years age group (P = 0·004, P < 0·001, P < 0·001, respectively). Respondents with secondary and higher educational status were more likely to avoid consumption of processed foods (P < 0·001) and to check the nutrition information on food packaging as compared with respondents having basic education status (P < 0·001).

Conclusions Awareness needs to be raised regarding salt recommendations for adults and children, sources of sodium in the diet and adding less salt during cooking, as well as reading food labels. Future campaigns for salt reduction should consider gender, age and level of education differences regarding knowledge, attitudes and behaviour towards salt.

(Received December 03 2012)

(Revised June 05 2013)

(Accepted July 25 2013)

(Online publication September 04 2013)

Keywords

  • Salt consumption knowledge;
  • Salt consumption behaviour;
  • Sociodemographic variables;
  • Greece

Correspondence

c1 Corresponding author: Email gmarakis@efet.gr

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