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To assess the knowledge, attitudes and practices related to salt consumption among adults in rural and urban North India.
Data for the study were obtained from a community-based cross-sectional survey using an interviewer-administered questionnaire and 24 h urine samples.
Data collection was conducted during March–October 2012 in rural Haryana and urban Delhi in North India.
Adults (n 1635) aged ≥20 years (701 in rural Haryana; 934 in urban Delhi).
Twenty-four per cent of rural and 40·5 % of urban participants knew that a high-salt diet causes high blood pressure. Nearly one-fifth of both rural and urban participants knew that there should be a maximum daily limit for consumption of salt. In rural and urban areas, 46·6 and 45·1 %, respectively, perceived it important to reduce the salt content of their diet; however, only 3·7 and 10·2 %, respectively, reported taking some actions. Participants reported they were consuming ‘too little salt’, ‘just the right amount of salt’ or ‘too much salt’, but their corresponding mean (95 % CI) actual salt consumption (g/d; as measured by 24 h urinary Na excretion) was higher, especially among rural participants (rural: 9·2 (8·13, 10·22), 8·5 (8·19, 8·77) or 8·4 (7·72, 8·99); urban: 5·6 (4·67, 6·57), 5·7 (5·32, 6·01) or 4·6 (4·10, 5·14), respectively).
Knowledge about the deleterious health impact of excess salt consumption is low in this population. Tailored public education for salt reduction is warranted with a particular focus on rural residents.
To estimate the proportion of products meeting Indian government labelling regulations and to examine the Na levels in packaged foods sold in India.
Nutritional composition data were collected from the labels of all packaged food products sold at Indian supermarkets in between 2012 and 2014. Proportions of products compliant with the Food Safety Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) regulations and labelled with Na content, and mean Na levels were calculated. Comparisons were made against 2010 data from Hyderabad and against the UK Department of Health (DoH) 2017 Na targets.
Eleven large chain retail stores in Delhi and Hyderabad, India.
Packaged food products (n 5686) categorised into fourteen food groups, thirty-three food categories and ninety sub-categories.
More packaged food products (43 v. 34 %; P<0·001) were compliant with FSSAI regulations but less (32 v. 38 %; P<0·001) reported Na values compared with 2010. Food groups with the highest Na content were sauces and spreads (2217 mg/100 g) and convenience foods (1344 mg/100 g). Mean Na content in 2014 was higher in four food groups compared with 2010 and lower in none (P<0·05). Only 27 % of foods in sub-categories for which there are UK DoH benchmarks had Na levels below the targets.
Compliance with nutrient labelling in India is improving but remains low. Many packaged food products have high levels of Na and there is no evidence that Indian packaged foods are becoming less salty.
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