Patient Education Education Campaigns Still Needed
Excessive salt consumption has been identified as one of the world’s leading health risks. With an array of non-communicable diseases that can be prevented by eating certain foods like hypertension and cardiovascular disease being linked to high sodium diets, the need for reduction has never been clearer. In an attempt to reduce occurrences of these diseases, the World Health Organisation set a target to reach a 30% reduction in salt intake by the year 2025. To achieve this, in addition to regulations, importance must be placed on initiatives and tools that educate consumers about their salt intake and how to eat healthy. This is especially relevant in Africa, where more than half of all adults aged 25 and over have been diagnosed with hypertension.
In 2016, South Africa became the world’s first nation to introduce regulations limiting the sodium content of food products, with the second wave of regulations coming into effect in June 2019. In response, a 2017 study examined the salt usage in South Africa and Ghana to determine the populations’ understanding of salt in their diets, their attitudes towards it and how it is used in each country. The study also served to measure and compare the effectiveness of the specific salt awareness tools in place in the areas. In contrast to South Africa, where salt reducing regulations had been put in place, the focus in Ghana has been iodine deficiency reduction through the use and consumption of iodised salt.
The results of the study showed that South Africans were less likely to add salt to their food while cooking, in comparison to the Ghanaians. However, it also showed that South Africans were more likely to bring salt to the table when eating and less likely to take action in controlling their daily salt intake. What can be gleamed from these results, is that there is still a strong need for consumer awareness on discretionary salt intake, practical information and further tools to reduce salt consumption. To read the article and earn points, please visit http://www.unilevercpd.co.za/default.asp.