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Educating restaurant owners and cooks to lower their own sodium intake is a potential strategy for reducing the sodium contents of restaurant foods: a small-scale pilot study in South Korea

  • Park, Sohyun ;
  • Lee, Heeseung ;
  • Seo, Dong-il ;
  • Oh, Kwang-hwan ;
  • Hwang, Taik Gun ;
  • Choi, Bo Youl
  • Received : 2016.08.02
  • Accepted : 2016.09.26
  • Published : 2016.12.01

Abstract

BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES: This study was conducted to evaluate the feasibility of a sodium reduction program at local restaurants through nutrition education and examination of the health of restaurant owners and cooks.SUBJECTS/METHODS: The study was a single-arm pilot intervention using a pre-post design in one business district with densely populated restaurants in Seoul, South Korea. The intervention focused on improving nutrition behaviors and psychosocial factors through education, health examination, and counseling of restaurant personnel. Forty-eight restaurant owners and cooks completed the baseline survey and participated in the intervention. Forty participants completed the post-intervention survey. RESULTS: The overweight and obesity prevalences were 25.6% and 39.5%, respectively, and 74.4% of participants had elevated blood pressure. After health examination, counseling, and nutrition education, several nutrition behaviors related to sodium intake showed improvement. In addition, those who consumed less salt in their baseline diet (measured with urine dipsticks) were more likely to agree that providing healthy foods to their customers is necessary. This study demonstrated the potential to reduce the sodium contents of restaurant foods by improving restaurant owners' and cooks' psychological factors and their own health behaviors. CONCLUSIONS: This small pilot study demonstrated that working with restaurant owners and cooks to improve their own health and sodium intake may have an effect on participation in restaurant-based sodium reduction initiatives. Future intervention studies with a larger sample size and comparison group can focus on improving the health and perceptions of restaurant personnel in order to increase the feasibility and efficacy of restaurant-based sodium reduction programs and policies.

Keywords

sodium;Sodium reduction;restaurant;environmental intervention;nutrition policy

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Acknowledgement

Supported by : National Research Fund, Hallym University