Relationship of general health motivation and dietary sodium intake




Thomas, Judith

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The problem of the study was to determine if there was a relationship between general health motivation and dietary sodium intake while controlling the interaction of sociodemographic factors thought to be operating in the situation. The hypothesis was, if general health motivation is high, then dietary sodium intake will be low, while controlling for the interaction of the sociodemographic factors (age, sex, marital status, educational level, and number of people in the subject's household).

The Health Belief Model (Becker, 1974) served as the theoretical framework, and the work of Lewis K. Dahl (1954, 1957, 1961) served as a scientific rationale for the development of the methodology. The author developed the General Health Motivation Scale after the method of Taylor (1968). Judge reliability met all of the criteria for tool development specified by Taylor (et al., 1972). Subject reliability was determined by test-retest to be acceptable (rxy = .68, n = 18, p = .01) for all subjects who responded without regard to changes in patterns of daily activities, and good for those who reported no changes or 1 change (rxy = .97, n = 9, p = .01).

With 49 subject who met the study criteria for functionally well, working adults with no known hypertension, cardiovascular, or kidney diseases, there was no support for the hypothesis in main tests with 24 hour urine sodium and with 24 hour dietary analysis for sodium. There was support for the hypothesis with the reported salt use and with the number of messages from the EATS computer program to improve the subjects' diets.

A conclusion was that though subjects were highly motivated concerning their health patterns with regard to dietary sodium intake, the information and the opportunity to reduce sodium intake to recommended levels was difficult to achieve.



Health motivation, Dietary sodium, Nutrition