Document Detail

Aging and eating in the rural, southern United States: beliefs about salt and its effect on health.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  15990209     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
This paper draws upon qualitative research conducted among older adults in the rural, southern United States in which they articulated their beliefs and experiences with nutrition and foods, and lay models of the connection of diet with chronic disease. Salt emerged as a focus of contention. The goals of the paper are to (1) present the culturally constructed meaning of salt, (2) contrast the cultural meaning with biomedical views, and (3) discuss how these findings can be applied to health education and better doctor-patient communication. Data were collected in two rural communities characterized by high rates of poverty and a high proportion of minority residents. A total of 116 African American, Native American and white adults aged 60 years and older participated in 55 in-depth interviews or seven focus groups. A systematic analysis of text showed that salt was a highly contested component of food. While valued for its role in traditional foods and cuisine, it also held negative connotations because of biomedical links to chronic diseases prevalent in the population. We suggest that attempts to control salt intake are made difficult by the changes in taste perceptions that accompany aging. Respondents' articulation of salt's role in health and disease shows cross-over among different chronic diseases and a lay interpretation of blood as the medium through which salt affects disease. These older adults' narratives demonstrate their attempts to reconcile the important role of traditional foods in their identity as Southerners with their attempts to meet medical recommendations for healthy eating.
Shannon L Smith; Sara A Quandt; Thomas A Arcury; Lindsay K Wetmore; Ronny A Bell; Mara Z Vitolins
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural     Date:  2005-06-29
Journal Detail:
Title:  Social science & medicine (1982)     Volume:  62     ISSN:  0277-9536     ISO Abbreviation:  Soc Sci Med     Publication Date:  2006 Jan 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2005-11-29     Completed Date:  2006-05-11     Revised Date:  2012-06-20    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  8303205     Medline TA:  Soc Sci Med     Country:  England    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  189-98     Citation Subset:  IM    
Department of Public Health Sciences, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Medical Center Blvd., Winston-Salem, NC 27157-1063, USA.
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MeSH Terms
African Americans / education,  psychology*
European Continental Ancestry Group / education,  psychology*
Feeding Behavior / ethnology*
Focus Groups
Food Preferences / ethnology*
Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
Indians, North American / education,  psychology*
Interviews as Topic
Middle Aged
North Carolina
Nutritional Physiological Phenomena / ethnology*
Rural Population*
Socioeconomic Factors
Sodium, Dietary* / adverse effects
Grant Support
Reg. No./Substance:
0/Sodium, Dietary

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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