New Study Shows Family Health History Does Not Impact Consumer Knowledge of High-Sodium Diet Risks

Results from a new study in the Journal of Food Science, published by the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), indicate that people with a family history of sodium-related diseases did not have more knowledge on the relationship between sodium consumption and risk of getting certain diseases than those with no history.

September 18, 2012

CHICAGO—Results from a new study in the Journal of Food Science, published by the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), indicate that people with a family history of sodium-related diseases did not have more knowledge on the relationship between sodium consumption and risk of getting certain diseases than those with no history.

Researchers from North Carolina State University analyzed data collected from 489 consumers who participated in a quantitative Internet survey designed to gather knowledge and attitudes towards dietary sodium, sodium in foods, and health.  The consumers were divided into two groups: group one, for those who had no family history, and group two, for those that did. Results showed that having a disease history did not increase the level of knowledge that excess sodium intake increases the risk of getting diseases.

While respondents overall were familiar with the concept a diet high in sodium intake could lead to increased risk of high blood pressure and stroke, only 10 percent of consumers indicated excess sodium as a possible cause of heart disease. Knowledge of bone disease risk was also poor; only 37 percent were aware that a diet high in sodium could negatively impact bone health.  In contrast, 68 percent of respondents were able to link sodium intake and kidney disease.

Additional survey findings showed most consumers were able to consistently identify that foods with high sodium were the same as foods with high salt.

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About IFT
For more than 70 years, IFT has existed to advance the science of food. Our nonprofit scientific society—more than 18,000 members from more than 100 countries—brings together food scientists, technologists and related professions from academia, government, and industry. For more information, please visit ift.org.

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