The digital education to limit salt in the home program improved salt-related knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors in parents
journal contributionposted on 2019-02-01, 00:00 authored by Ajam KhokharAjam Khokhar, Caryl NowsonCaryl Nowson, Claire MargerisonClaire Margerison, Madi WestMadi West, Karen CampbellKaren Campbell, Alison BoothAlison Booth, Carley GrimesCarley Grimes
BACKGROUND: Currently, Australian children and adults are eating too much salt, increasing their risk of cardiovascular-related conditions. Web-based programs provide an avenue to engage the parents of primary schoolchildren in salt-specific messages, which may positively impact their own salt-related knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors (KABs). OBJECTIVE: This pilot study aimed to determine whether parents' salt-related KABs improved following participation in the Digital Education to LImit Salt in the Home (DELISH) Web-based education program. METHODS: The DELISH program was a 5-week, home-delivered, Web-based intervention, with a pre- and posttest design, targeting schoolchildren aged 7 to 10 years and their parents. Parents received weekly Web-based educational newsletters and text messages and completed online pre- and postprogram surveys assessing salt-related KABs. Upon completion of the program, all parents were also invited to complete an online evaluation survey. Changes in KABs outcomes were assessed using McNemar tests and paired t tests. RESULTS: Of the 80 parents that commenced the program, 73 parents (mean age 41.0, SD 7.0 years; 86% (63/73) females) completed both pre- and postsurveys. Overall, mean score for salt-related knowledge improved (+3.6 [standard error (SE) 0.41] points), and mean behavior score also improved (+4.5 [SE 0.61] points), indicating a higher frequency of engaging in behaviors to reduce salt in the diet, and mean attitude score decreased (-0.7 [SE 0.19] points), representing lower importance of using salt to enhance the taste of food (all P<.001). Following participation, the proportion of parents aware of the daily salt intake recommendation increased from 40% (29/73) to 74% (54/73) (P<.001), and awareness of bread as the main source of salt increased from 58% (42/73) to 95% (69/73) (P<.001). The proportion of parents who agreed that salt should be used in cooking to enhance the flavor of food decreased from 30% (22/73) to 11% (8/73) (P=.002) and the proportion who agreed that sodium information displayed on food labels was difficult to understand decreased from 52% (38/73) to 32% (23/73) (P=.009). There was a reduction in the proportion of parents who reported adding salt during cooking (55% [40/73] vs 41% [30/73]; P=.03) and at the table (32% [23/73] vs 18% [13/73]; P=.002). Of the 16 parents who completed the evaluation survey, 75% (12/16) enjoyed the program, and all parents found the newsletters to be useful. Almost all parents (15/16, 94%) agreed that the DELISH program would be useful to other parents. CONCLUSIONS: The improvement in salt-related KABs in the DELISH program indicates the potential for online technology, to disseminate simple salt reduction education messages to families with primary school-aged children. Future work should seek to improve the quality of data collected by including a larger sample size and a control group to integrate the program within the school setting to enable wider dissemination.