Salt intake in Lebanon (Paper) – Mohamad Musbah R. Almedawar

Mohamad Musbah R. Almedawar, current PhD student in Dresden Germany, and former research fellow at the American University of Beirut Medical Center has published a paper as a first author on consumption of salt in Lebanon, it’s sources and adverse health effects, and a narrative of the Lebanese Action on Sodium and Health campaign. A few months earlier, a report of all the research that has been done on the Lebanese society by the campaign leaderes, including Mohamad, in the Nutrients Journal.

Here’s an abstract of the paper:

Sodium intake reduction efforts in Lebanon are quite recent and have just started to take effect on the national level. Starting out from an academic institution, the Lebanese Action on Sodium and Health (LASH) campaign was established to counter the increasing prevalence of hypertension and associated adverse health effects. The campaign’s strategy was based on four pillars: research, health communication, advocacy, and monitoring. The LASH group set out with determining: baseline sodium intake of the population, main sources of sodium intake, and the knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors (KAB) of the population as a situation analysis that prompts for action. This gave LASH tangible evidence of the magnitude of the problem and the need for the government, the food industry, and the consumers, to be mobilized to take part in devising a solution. Currently, Lebanon is at a stage of technically working to reduce the sodium content in the major sources of sodium, namely local bread and bread-like products. The next steps will include implementation of a plan for monitoring industry compliance, while studying other food targets, including dairy products and processed meat. Meanwhile, the health communication plan is ongoing and the Salt Awareness Week is celebrated every year with media appearances of LASH researchers to raise the issue to the public eye.

You can read the full text here.

Here’s an abstract of the report:

Sodium intake is high in Lebanon, a country of the Middle East region where rates of cardiovascular diseases are amongst the highest in the world. This study examines salt-related knowledge, attitude and self-reported behaviors amongst adult Lebanese consumers and investigates the association of socio-demographic factors, knowledge and attitudes with salt-related behaviors. Using a multicomponent questionnaire, a cross-sectional study was conducted in nine supermarkets in Beirut, based on systematic random sampling (n = 442). Factors associated with salt-related behaviors were examined by multivariate regression analysis. Specific knowledge and attitude gaps were documented with only 22.6% of participants identifying processed foods as the main source of salt, 55.6% discerning the relationship between salt and sodium, 32.4% recognizing the daily limit of salt intake and 44.7% reporting being concerned about the amount of salt in their diet. The majority of participants reported behavioral practices that increase salt intake with only 38.3% checking for salt label content, 43.7% reporting that their food purchases are influenced by salt content and 38.6% trying to buy low-salt foods. Knowledge, attitudes and older age were found to significantly predict salt-related behaviors. Findings offer valuable insight on salt-related knowledge, attitude and behaviors in a sample of Lebanese consumers and provide key information that could spur the development of evidence-based salt-reduction interventions specific to the Middle East.

You can read the full text here.

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