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Original Research Articles

Salt and Health: public awareness, attitudes, and practices in Sri Lanka to inform a behaviour change communication campaign to reduce dietary salt

Authors:

Achala Upendra Jayatilleke ,

World Health Organization (WHO) Country Office for Sri Lanka, Colombo, LK
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Nalika Gunawardena,

World Health Organization (WHO) Country Office for Sri Lanka, Colombo, LK
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Angela de Silva,

World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office of Southeast Asia, New Delhi, IN
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Champika Wickramasinghe,

Ministry of Health and Indigenous Medical Services, Colombo, LK
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Lakshman Gamlath,

Ministry of Health and Indigenous Medical Services, Colombo, LK
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Thilak Siriwardena,

Ministry of Health and Indigenous Medical Services, Colombo, LK
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Janaki Vidanapathirana,

Ministry of Health and Indigenous Medical Services, Colombo, LK
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Shanthi Ginawardena,

Ministry of Health and Indigenous Medical Services, Colombo, LK
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Vindya Kumarapeli,

Ministry of Health and Indigenous Medical Services, Colombo, LK
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AMAAP Alagiyawanna,

Ministry of Health and Indigenous Medical Services, Colombo, LK
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Ishanka Thalagala,

Ministry of Health and Indigenous Medical Services, Colombo, LK
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Aravinda Wickramasinghe,

Ministry of Health and Indigenous Medical Services, Colombo, LK
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Prabha Kumari,

Ministry of Health and Indigenous Medical Services, Colombo, LK
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Prasad Ranatunga,

Ministry of Health and Indigenous Medical Services, Colombo, LK
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Sapumal Dhanapala,

World Health Organization (WHO) Country Office for Sri Lanka, Colombo, LK
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Razia Pendse

World Health Organization (WHO) Country Office for Sri Lanka, Colombo, LK
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Abstract

Introduction: Sri Lankan citizens consume almost double the recommended daily amount of salt.

 

Objectives: To assess the knowledge, attitudes and practices related to health effects of dietary salt among adults and adolescents in Sri Lanka to inform a national behaviour change communication campaign

 

Methods: We conducted a descriptive household survey among adults (n=1016) and adolescents (n=505) in 10 districts. An interviewer-administered questionnaire was used for data collection. The approximate amount of dietary salt intake of the individuals was estimated based on household purchases.

 

Results: The recommended salt limit was identified by 40% of the population. Majority of adults (90.8%) and adolescents (86.1%) knew the adverse health effects of high salt intake. Although household monthly purchase of salt indicated consumption is much higher than recommended, 48.3% of adults and 45.9% of adolescents believed they consume the right amount of salt. Discretionary salt added to home cooking was a major contributor to intake, while consumption of processed food was also high. For health-related information, most preferred media is television (adults: 72%, adolescents: 69%).

 

Conclusions & Recommendations: The study identified gaps as well as strengths of Sri Lankan's knowledge, attitudes and practices on salt consumption and health. Study recommends a communication campaign that include specific messaging to address gaps and leveraging on strengths. The survey identified adult females to be a key target group for the campaign and television as the best mode of message delivery.
How to Cite: Jayatilleke, A.U., Gunawardena, N., de Silva, A., Wickramasinghe, C., Gamlath, L., Siriwardena, T., Vidanapathirana, J., Ginawardena, S., Kumarapeli, V., Alagiyawanna, A., Thalagala, I., Wickramasinghe, A., Kumari, P., Ranatunga, P., Dhanapala, S. and Pendse, R., 2022. Salt and Health: public awareness, attitudes, and practices in Sri Lanka to inform a behaviour change communication campaign to reduce dietary salt. Journal of the College of Community Physicians of Sri Lanka, 28(3), pp.640–653. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/jccpsl.v28i3.8541
Published on 22 Nov 2022.
Peer Reviewed

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