Barriers for progress in salt reduction in the general population. An international study

R. S. Newson, I. Elmadfa, Gy Biro, Y. Cheng, V. Prakash, P. Rust, M. Barna, R. Lion, G. W. Meijer, N. Neufingerl, I. Szabolcs, R. van Zweden, Y. Yang, G. I.J. Feunekes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

79 Citations (Scopus)


Salt reduction is important for reducing hypertension and the risk of cardiovascular events, nevertheless worldwide salt intakes are above recommendations. Consequently strategies to reduce intake are required, however these require an understanding of salt intake behaviours to be effective. As limited information is available on this, an international study was conducted to derive knowledge on salt intake and associated behaviours in the general population. An online cohort was recruited consisting of a representative sample from Germany, Austria, United States of America, Hungary, India, China, South Africa, and Brazil (n=6987; aged 18-65. years; age and gender stratified). Participants completed a comprehensive web-based questionnaire on salt intake and associated behaviours. While salt reduction was seen to be healthy and important, over one third of participants were not interested in salt reduction and the majority were unaware of recommendations. Salt intake was largely underestimated and people were unaware of the main dietary sources of salt. Participants saw themselves as mainly responsible for their salt intake, but also acknowledged the roles of others. Additionally, they wanted to learn more about why salt was bad for health and what the main sources in the diet were. As such, strategies to reduce salt intake must raise interest in engaging in salt reduction through improving understanding of intake levels and dietary sources of salt. Moreover, while some aspects of salt reduction can be globally implemented, local tailoring is required to match level of interest in salt reduction. These findings provide unique insights into issues surrounding salt reduction and should be used to develop effective salt reduction strategies and/or policies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22-31
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2013


  • Behaviour change
  • International
  • Population-based health
  • Public health
  • Salt
  • Salt reduction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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    Newson, R. S., Elmadfa, I., Biro, G., Cheng, Y., Prakash, V., Rust, P., Barna, M., Lion, R., Meijer, G. W., Neufingerl, N., Szabolcs, I., van Zweden, R., Yang, Y., & Feunekes, G. I. J. (2013). Barriers for progress in salt reduction in the general population. An international study. Appetite, 71, 22-31.