Key role-players’ perceptions of the current salt legislation in South Africa: opportunities and challenges
Objective: A study was undertaken to determine the perceptions of key role-players regarding challenges and opportunities to move the South African salt-reduction strategy forward.
Design: The study had a qualitative, exploratory design using in-depth, semi-structured interviews.
Setting: South Africa.
Subjects: A total of 12 participants from various fields within the salt-reduction strategy environment, including academia, government and policy-related institutions, research sector and non-governmental organisations, took part.
Outcome measures: Consumer knowledge, consumer education programmes, multi-sectoral collaboration, research efforts and strategy recommendations were noted.
Results: Overall perceptions of the current salt-reduction strategy in South Africa were positive. Most of the participants agreed that the current strategy is the best approach to reduce the salt intake of the South African population. Participants strongly believed, however, that the strategy is not currently reinforced and that the initial momentum is lost. Concerns were raised regarding the absence of consumer-awareness campaigns, the population’s lack of knowledge regarding salt intake and its relation to health, and the challenges around the monitoring of salt/sodium in processed foods. Participants also highlighted the lack of current studies in this field as well as existing data to be used for baseline studies.
Conclusions: South Africa’s current salt-reduction strategy is the correct approach to decrease the population’s salt intake. The initial phase of implementing the strategy has been successful, but the current perception is that government is not following through with this strategy. Several key areas that are needed for this strategy to succeed are being neglected.
Keywords: salt, sodium, hypertension, salt-reduction strategy, legislation, South Africa
The SAJCN does not hold itself responsible for statements made by the authors.