Background: People of Bangladeshi origin have the highest mortality ratio from coronary heart disease of any minority ethnic group in UK and their rate of kidney disease is three- to five-fold higher than that of the European UK population. However, there is little information regarding their dietary customs or knowledge, beliefs and attitudes towards health and nutrition. This multi-method qualitative study aimed to identify: (i) barriers and facilitators to dietary sodium restriction; (ii) traditional and current diet in the UK; and (iii) beliefs and attitudes towards development of hypertension, and the role of sodium.
Methods: Methods included focus group discussions, vignettes and food diaries. Twenty female chronic kidney disease patients attended four focus group discussions and maintained food diaries; ten responded to vignettes during telephone interviews. Triangulation of the results obtained from the three methods identified categories and themes from qualitative thematic analysis.
Results: Identified barriers to sodium restriction were deeply-rooted dietary beliefs, attitudes and a culturally-established taste for salt. Facilitators of change included acceptable strategies for cooking with less salt without affecting palatability. Dietary practices were culturally determined but modified by participants’ prosperity in the UK relative to their previous impoverished agrarian lifestyles in Bangladesh.
Conclusions: Cultural background and orientation were strong determinants of the group’s dietary practices and influenced their reception and response to health communication messages. Efforts to understand their cultural mores, interpret and convey health-promotion messages in culturally-appropriate ways met with a positive response.