Community awareness of diet needs associated with hypertension and type 2 diabetes mellitus in Hatcliffe, Zimbabwe

BMC Public Health. 2019 Dec 16;19(1):1686. doi: 10.1186/s12889-019-8030-4.


Background: Diet is an important modifiable risk factor for non-communicable diseases (NCDs) like hypertension (HTN) and type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). A NCD is a disease that cannot be transmitted from person to person. Dietary risk factors account for 5.8% of all-cause mortality in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). There has been an increase in the consumption of 'westernized 'diets in SSA. The westernized diets consumed in low-income countries are usually high in salt content, fatty, processed and fast foods; and hence accelerate the development of HTN and T2DM. Previous studies carried out in Zimbabwe showed low levels of knowledge and awareness of HTN and T2DM; and the dietary needs for patients with those conditions. The aim of this study was to explore the dietary habits and awareness of HTN and T2DM of both males and females in a high-density area (HDA) of Zimbabwe.

Methods: We conducted household-based cross-sectional study in a high density area of Hatcliffe, which has a population of close to 50,000 residents. Face to face interviews were conducted using hand-held mobile devices loaded with KoBo Toolbox. We selected two consenting adults, a male and female, from every fourth household in selected areas of Hatcliffe.

Results: In this study all the 492 participants that were interviewed responded. Eighty eight point 6% (88.6%) of the participants in the study did not know if they were hypertensive or not. In addition, 91.7% of the participants had never voluntarily checked for hypertension. Similarly, 97.6% of the participants did not know if they had T2DM or not. Ninety eight percent (98%) of the participants had not voluntarily checked their blood glucose level.

Conclusions: The majority of the participants in the study were not aware if they had HTN or T2DM. The participants in the study perceived that the salt they consume is the right quantity. There is a high consumption of vegetable oil in most meals prepared.

Keywords: Awareness; Dietary needs; Hypertension; Type 2 diabetes mellitus; Zimbabwe.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / epidemiology*
  • Diet*
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / epidemiology*
  • Male
  • Risk Factors
  • Zimbabwe / epidemiology