Salt reduction interventions in Sub-Saharan Africa : a systematic review
Muthuri, Stella Kagwiria
Oti, Samuel Oji
- Publisher: Public Library of Science
Chemistry | Blood Pressure | Vascular Medicine | Research Article | Biology and Life Sciences | Physiology | Food | Chemical Compounds | Health Education and Awareness | Nutrition | Physical Sciences | Food Consumption | Medicine and Health Sciences | Diet | Physiological Processes | Hypertension | Health Care | Salts | Sodium Chloride | QP
Background:\ud \ud Salt intake is associated with hypertension, the leading risk factor for cardiovascular disease. To promote population-level salt reduction, the World Health Organization recommends intervention around three core pillars: Reformulation of processed foods, consumer awareness, and environmental changes to increase availability and affordability of healthy food. This review investigates salt reduction interventions implemented and evaluated in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).\ud \ud Methods:\ud \ud MEDLINE and google scholar electronic databases were searched for articles meeting inclusion criteria. Studies that reported evaluation results of a salt intervention in SSA were identified. Titles and abstracts were screened, and articles selected for full-text review. Quality of included articles was assessed, and a narrative synthesis of the findings undertaken. PROSPERO registration number CRD42015019055.\ud \ud Results:\ud \ud Seven studies representing four countries—South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, and Tanzania—were included. Two examined product reformulation, one in hypertensive patients and the other in normotensive volunteers. Four examined consumer awareness interventions, including individualised counselling and advisory health sessions delivered to whole villages. One study used an environmental approach by offering discounts on healthy food purchases. All the interventions resulted in at least one significantly improved outcome measure including reduction in systolic blood pressure (BP), 24 hour urinary sodium excretion, or mean arterial BP.\ud \ud Conclusions:\ud \ud More high quality studies on salt reduction interventions in the region are needed, particularly focused on consumer awareness and education in urban populations given the context of rapid urbanisation; and essentially, targeting product reformulation and environmental change, for greater promise for propagation across a vast, diverse continent.