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Consumer Sentiment on Actions Reducing Sodium in Processed and Restaurant Foods, ConsumerStyles 2010

      Background

      Current recommendations target sodium reduction in the food supply and intake; however, information is limited on consumer readiness for these actions.

      Purpose

      Prevalence and determinants of consumer agreement for government restriction of manufacturers and restaurants putting excess salt in food and support for policies limiting sodium content of quick service restaurant (QSR) foods were examined.

      Methods

      Data were analyzed from 9,579 adults aged ≥18 years who responded to consumer readiness for sodium reduction questions in the 2010 ConsumerStyles survey. Responses were collapsed into three categories. Consumer agreement was determined and logistic regression was used to estimate ORs. Analyses were conducted in 2012.

      Results

      The majority of consumers agree that it is a good idea for government to restrict food manufacturers (55.9%) from putting excess salt in foods. About half agreed that it is a good idea for government to restrict restaurants from putting excess salt in foods and 81.5% supported sodium reduction policies in QSRs. Odds of agreement/support were higher for non-Hispanic blacks compared with non-Hispanic whites, and those with incomes <$40,000 compared with ≥$60,000. Those reporting “neutral” or “yes” to wanting to eat a diet low in sodium were more likely to agree/support government action compared to those answering “no.”

      Conclusions

      Nearly half of consumers agree with government actions to reduce sodium in manufactured and restaurant foods, with even greater support for QSRs. These findings could inform industry and public health partners about consumer preferences to lower the sodium content of the food supply.
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