“I use salt. However, I also use soy sauce, oyster sauce, sometimes chili sauce and….”: interviews with Australians of Chinese ancestry regarding reducing salt consumption for hypertension prevention
Background: High dietary salt consumption is a significant health issue in Chinese populations. This study identified the facilitators for and barriers to salt reduction for prevention of hypertension among Chinese Australians. Methods: An inductive qualitative study with semi-structured interviews (n = 8) was conducted with convenience samples recruited from social media. Adults who a) were over 18 years old, b) were of Chinese ancestry and c) had lived in Australia for at least 6 months were eligible for participation. Interview transcripts were transcribed and analysed using content analysis. Results: Four facilitators for and eight barriers to reducing salt consumption were synthesised from the narrative materials. The facilitators were: 1) individual perceptions of health benefits, 2) salt alternatives, 3) digital information and 4) increased awareness of negative health impacts from a high-salt diet. The barriers identified were: 1) negative physical changes not apparent, 2) inadequate salt-related health education, 3) hidden salt in food products, 4) inadequate food literacy, 5) pricing, 6) busy lifestyle, 7) low perceived susceptibility and 8) individual food taste preference and cooking habits. Peer and family influence had positive and negative effects on participants’ likelihood of reducing salt consumption. Conclusions: The facilitators for and barriers to maintaining a low-salt diet in Chinese Australians were multifaceted and interrelated. Future salt-reduction strategies should focus on the health benefits of reduced salt consumption and practical interventions such as salt alternatives and education on low-salt food choices and cooking methods and changing perceptions about salt reduction to become a social norm in the Chinese community.
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University of Newcastle Australia