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Food Consumption, Knowledge, Attitudes, and Practices Related to Salt in Urban Areas in Five Sub-Saharan African Countries

High salt intake is a major risk factor of hypertension and cardiovascular disease. Improving knowledge, attitudes, and practices (KAP) related to salt intake in the general population is a key component of salt reduction strategies. The objective of this study was to describe and compare the KAP of adults related to salt in urban areas of five countries in sub-Saharan Africa. The survey included 588 participants aged 25 to 65 years who were selected using convenience samples in the urban areas of Benin, Guinea, Kenya, Mozambique, and Seychelles. Socio-demographic and food consumption were assessed using a structured closed-ended questionnaire administered by survey officers. Height, weight, and blood pressure were measured. Food consumption varied largely between countries. Processed foods high in salt, such as processed meat, cheese, pizzas, and savory snacks were consumed rather infrequently in all the countries, but salt-rich foods, such as soups or bread and salty condiments, were consumed frequently in all countries. The majority of the participants knew that high salt intake can cause health problems (85%) and thought that it is important to limit salt intake (91%). However, slightly over half (56%) of the respondents regularly tried to limit their salt intake while only 8% of the respondents thought that they consumed too much salt. Salt and salty condiments were added most of the time during cooking (92% and 64%, respectively) but rarely at the table (11%). These findings support the need for education campaigns to reduce salt added during cooking and for strategies to reduce salt content in selected manufactured foods in the region.