Knowledge, attitudes and perception on dietary salt reduction of two communities in Grahamstown, South Africa

Fadzai Mushoriwa, Nick Townsend, Sunitha Srinivas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (SciVal)


INTRODUCTION: Dietary salt reduction has been identified as a cost effective way of addressing the global burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), particularly cardiovascular diseases. The World Health Organization has recommended three main strategies for achieving population-wide salt reduction in all member states: food reformulation, policies and consumer awareness campaigns. In 2013, the South African Ministry of Health announced the mandatory salt reduction legislation for the food manufacturing sector. These were set to come into effect on 30 June 2016. This decision was influenced by the need to reduce the incidence of NCDs and the fact that processed food is the source of 54% of the salt consumed in the South African diet. However, with discretionary salt also being a significant contributor, there is need for consumer awareness campaigns. The aim of this study was to assess the knowledge, attitudes and practices of guardians and cooks at two non-governmental organisations based in Grahamstown, South Africa, towards dietary salt reduction.

METHOD: Data was collected through observation and explorative, voice-recorded semi-structured interviews and transcribed data was analysed using NVivo®.

RESULTS: At both centres, salt shakers were not placed on the tables during mealtimes. Only 14% the participants perceived their personal salt intake to be a little. No participants were aware of the recommended daily salt intake limit or the relationship between salt and sodium. Only five out of the 19 participants had previously received information on dietary salt reduction from sources such as healthcare professionals and the media.

CONCLUSION: The results from the first phase of this study highlighted gaps in the participants' knowledge, attitudes and practices towards dietary salt reduction. The aim of the second phase of the research is to design and implement a context specific and culturally appropriate educational intervention on dietary salt reduction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-38
Number of pages6
JournalNutrition and Health
Issue number1
Early online date3 Jan 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2017


  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Awareness
  • Cardiovascular Diseases/prevention & control
  • Diet, Sodium-Restricted
  • Fast Foods
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Female
  • Food Services
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Recommended Dietary Allowances
  • Sodium/administration & dosage
  • Sodium Chloride, Dietary/administration & dosage
  • South Africa
  • Young Adult


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