Study of U.S. adults shows that receiving advice from health professionals to reduce sodium may lead to sodium reduction behavior

What is already known?

High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. Reducing sodium intake can lower blood pressure, and receiving advice from health professionals to lower sodium has been associated with higher rates of people trying to reduce sodium in their diets. Focusing on ways to lower blood pressure, including reducing dietary sodium, is important for preventing and treating hypertension.

The main objective of this study was to determine whether survey participants, with and without hypertension, received advice to reduce sodium from health professionals and whether participants took action after receiving this advice.

What does this article add?

In 2015, 50,576 U.S. adults age 18 and older from nine states and Puerto Rico responded to a telephone survey about sodium-related behaviors.

The results:

  • Less than half (42%) of participants with hypertension reported receiving advice to reduce sodium intake. Even fewer participants (13%) without hypertension reported receiving advice to reduce sodium.
  • Among participants with hypertension, 81% of those who reported receiving advice to reduce sodium intake reported taking action, compared with 56% who did not report receiving
  • Among participants without hypertension, 73% of those who reported receiving advice to reduce sodium intake reported taking action, compared with 47% who did not report receiving advice.

What are the implications of these findings?

  • The majority of participants did not report receiving advice to reduce sodium intake from health professionals.
  • Overall, participants with hypertension who reported receiving advice to reduce sodium intake were the most likely to report taking action to eat less sodium.
  • Receiving advice to reduce sodium intake from health professionals may influence sodium reduction behavior and awareness.

Citation

Va P, Luncheon C, Thompson-Paul AM, Fang J, Merritt R, Cogswell ME. Self-Reported Receipt of Advice and Action Taken To Reduce Dietary Sodium Among Adults With and Without Hypertension—Nine States and Puerto Rico, 2015. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2018;67:225-9.