The Association of Knowledge and Behaviours Related to Salt with 24-h Urinary Salt Excretion in a Population from North and South India.
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Consumer knowledge is understood to play a role in managing risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease and may be influenced by level of education. The association between population knowledge, behaviours and actual salt consumption was explored overall, and for more-educated compared to less-educated individuals. A cross-sectional survey was done in an age-and sex-stratified random sample of 1395 participants from urban and rural areas of North and South India. A single 24-h urine sample, participants' physical measurements and questionnaire data were collected. The mean age of participants was 40 years, 47% were women and mean 24-h urinary salt excretion was 9.27 (8.87-9.69) g/day. Many participants reported favourable knowledge and behaviours to minimise risks related to salt. Several of these behaviours were associated with reduced salt intake-less use of salt while cooking, avoidance of snacks, namkeens, and avoidance of pickles (all p < 0.003). Mean salt intake was comparable in more-educated (9.21, 8.55-9.87 g/day) versus less-educated (9.34, 8.57-10.12 g/day) individuals (p = 0.82). There was no substantively different pattern of knowledge and behaviours between more-versus less-educated groups and no clear evidence that level of education influenced salt intake. Several consumer behaviours related to use of salt during food preparation and consumption of salty products were related to actual salt consumption and therefore appear to offer an opportunity for intervention. These would be a reasonable focus for a government-led education campaign targeting salt.