Dispelling nutrition myths, ranting, and occasionally, raving

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Does shaking your head reduce sodium intake?

Results of an evaluation of the Champlain Give Your Head A Shake campaign indicate that the campaign has not resulted in significant behaviour change in the general population according to an article in the Globe and Mail. This shouldn’t come as a surprise. It’s frequently shown that public awareness campaigns result in little or no behaviour change. Changing behaviours is tough. Especially when the environment in which we live is not conducive to making said changes. I’ve blogged about this issue before in regard to the Canadian initiative to combat obesity. Yes, awareness is important, I believe that health care professionals and public health have an obligation to let people know that high levels of salt consumption can lead to negative health consequences and that most of us are consuming too much salt from packaged foods. However, I don’t think that awareness is enough to change behaviour in this case. The problem is that packaged foods laden with sodium are commonplace in our society. For many people, avoiding these foods is not realistic. So, what to do? We need to change our food environment. While the food industry is focussing on looking for alternatives to sodium I think it’s more important to make it easier for people to choose foods that do not contain copious amounts of sodium or whatever its replacement may be. I’m not sure how we do this, but we need to make it easier and more desirable for people to start cooking more meals using fewer packages.