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Parents’ Perceptions about Salt Consumption in Urban Areas of Peru: Formative Research for a Social Marketing Strategy

BACKGROUND:
Salt intakes in Latin America currently double the World Health Organization’s recommendation of 5 g/day. Various strategies to reduce the population’s salt consumption, such as raising awareness using social marketing, have been recommended. This study identified parents’ perceptions of salt consumption to inform a social marketing strategy focused on urban areas in Peru.

METHODS:
Using a sequential exploratory methods design, parents of pre-school children, of high and low socioeconomic status, provided qualitative data in the form of interviews and focus groups. Following this, quantitative data was obtained via questionnaires, which were sent to all parents. The information was analyzed jointly.

RESULTS:
296 people (mean age 35.4, 82% women) participated, 64 in the qualitative and 232 in the quantitative phase of the study. Qualitative data from the first phase revealed that the majority of mothers were in charge of cooking, and female participants expressed that cooking was “their duty” as housewives. The qualitative phase also revealed that despite the majority of the participants considered their salt intake as adequate, half of them mentioned that they have tried to reduce salt consumption, and the change in the flavor of the food was stated as the most difficult challenge to continue with such practice. Quantitative data showed that 67% of participants would be willing to reduce their salt intake, and 79.7% recognized that high salt intake causes hypertension. In total, 84% of participants reaffirmed that mothers were in charge of cooking. There were no salient differences in terms of responses provided by participants from high versus low socioeconomic groups.

CONCLUSIONS:
The results point towards the identification of women as a potential target-audience of a social marketing strategy to promote reductions in salt intake in their families and, therefore, a gender-responsive social marketing intervention is recommended.

The Effect of a Priest-Led Intervention on the Choice and Preference of Soda Beverages: A Cluster-Randomized Controlled Trial in Catholic Parishes

BACKGROND:
Latin America ranks among the regions with the highest level of intake of sugary beverages in the world. Innovative strategies to reduce the consumption of sugary drinks are necessary.

METHODS:
We conducted a pragmatic cluster-randomized trial in Catholic parishes, paired by number of attendees,in Chimbote, Peru between March and June of 2017. The priest-led intervention, a short message about the importance of protecting one’s health, was delivered during the mass. The primary outcome was the proportion of individuals that choose a bottle of soda instead of a bottle of water immediately after the service. Cluster-level estimates were used to compare primary and secondary outcomes between intervention and control groups utilizing nonparametric tests.

RESULTS:
Six parishes were allocated to control and six to the intervention group. The proportion of soda selection at baseline was ~60% in the intervention and control groups, and ranged from 56.3% to 63.8% in Week 1, and from 62.7% to 68.2% in Week 3. The proportion of mass attendees choosing water over soda was better in the priest-led intervention group: 8.2% higher at Week 1 (95% confidence interval 1.7%–14.6%, p = .03), and 6.2% higher at 3 weeks after baseline (p = .15).

CONCLUSIONS:
This study supports the proof-of-concept that a brief priest-led intervention can decrease sugary drink choice.

Inequalities in life expectancy in six large Latin American cities from the SALURBAL study: an ecological analysis

BACKGROUND:
Latin America is one of the most unequal regions in the world, but evidence is lacking on the magnitude of health inequalities in urban areas of the region. Our objective was to examine inequalities in life expectancy in six large Latin American cities and its association with a measure of area-level socioeconomic status.

METHODS:
In this ecological analysis, we used data from the Salud Urbana en America Latina (SALURBAL) study on six large cities in Latin America (Buenos Aires, Argentina; Belo Horizonte, Brazil; Santiago, Chile; San José, Costa Rica; Mexico City, Mexico; and Panama City, Panama), comprising 266 subcity units, for the period 2011–15 (expect for Panama city, which was for 2012–16). We calculated average life expectancy at birth by sex and subcity unit with life tables using age-specific mortality rates estimated from a Bayesian model, and calculated the difference between the ninth and first decile of life expectancy at birth (P90–P10 gap) across subcity units in cities. We also analysed the association between life expectancy at birth and socioeconomic status at the subcity-unit level, using education as a proxy for socioeconomic status, and whether any geographical patterns existed in cities between subcity units.

FINDINGS:
We found large spatial differences in average life expectancy at birth in Latin American cities, with the largest P90–P10 gaps observed in Panama City (9·8 years for men and 11·2 years for women),Santiago (8·9 years for me and 17·7 years for women), and Mexico City (10·9 years for men and 9·4 years for women), and the narrowest in Buenos Aires (4·4 years for men and 5·8 years for women), Belo Horizonte (4·0 years for men and 6·5 years for women), and San José (3·9 years for men and 3·0 years for women). Higher area-level socioeconomic status was associated with higher life expectancy, especially in Santiago (change in life expectancy per P90–P10 change unit-level of educational attainment 8·0 years [95% CI 5·8–10·3] for men and 11·8 years [7·1–16·4] for women) and Panama City (8·0 years [4·4–11·6] for men and 10·0 years [4·2–15·8] for women). We saw an increase in life expectancy at birth from east to west in Panama City and from north to south in core Mexico City, and a core-periphery divide in Buenos Aires and Santiago. Whereas for San José the central part of the city had the lowest life expectancy and in Belo Horizonte the central part of the city had the highest life expectancy.

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