Understanding barriers and enablers to state action on salt: analysis of stakeholder perceptions of the VicHealth Salt Reduction Partnership
journal contributionposted on 2019-01-01, 00:00 authored by Briar McKenzie, Kathy Trieu, Carley GrimesCarley Grimes, Jenny Reimers, Jacqui Webster
The Victorian Salt Reduction Partnership (VicSalt Partnership) was launched in 2015, bringing together health and research organisations to develop an action plan for salt reduction interventions at a state level. A comprehensive evaluation was designed to assess the impact of the resulting four-year intervention strategy. As part of the process evaluation, semi-structured interviews were undertaken with stakeholders in March⁻May 2017, to understand perceived barriers and enablers to effective strategy implementation. Data were coded in relation to the key topic areas of the interviews with an inductive method used to analyse themes within topics. Seventeen stakeholders were contacted, 14 completed an interview; five from state government or statutory agencies, four from non-government funded organisations, four from research organisations and one from the food industry. Twelve were members of the VicSalt Partnership and two were informal collaborators. Most stakeholders viewed the VicSalt Partnership as a positive example of working collaboratively, and said this was essential for raising awareness of the importance of salt reduction with consumers, the food industry, and the government. Challenges relating to engaging the food industry and federal government through a state-led initiative were identified. New approaches to overcome this, such as forming clear "asks" to government and committing industry to "pledges" on reformulation were suggested. Stakeholder interviews and qualitative analysis have provided a range of important insights into barriers and enablers, many of which have already been used to strengthen intervention implementation. The evaluation of the VicSalt Partnership is ongoing and the program is expected to provide a wealth of lessons for state-led interventions to reduce salt intake in Australia and globally.