Public awareness and perception of Ghana's restrictive policy on fatty meat, as well as preference and consumption of meat products among Ghanaian adults living in the Kumasi Metropolis

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Background: The nutrition transition, currently observed across the world is driven by trade liberalization, urbanization and more sedentary lifestyles. Ghana implemented a restrictive policy to limit the availability and access to fatty meat in the 1990s. This paper sought to determine public awareness and perception of the policy's enforcement and impact, as well as the general attitude towards fatty meat, preference and consumption of meat types. Method: A cross-sectional qualitative study was carried out among 377 adults, aged ≥18 years, living in Kumasi Metropolis in the Ashanti Region, the second largest city in Ghana. An interviewer administered structured questionnaire and a food frequency questionnaire were used for data collection. Body composition parameters were determined with OMRON body composition analyser and blood pressure was measured with a digital sphygmomanometer. Results: Majority of respondents were females (62.9%), aged 18-35 years old (72.1%) and were labourers, traders or teachers (52.5%). Mean Body Mass Index of participants was 25.4 kg/m2 and percent body fat was 30.4%. Over half (58.9%) of the participants were aware of, and most (81.2%) supported the restrictions, although majority (57%) thought there was low public awareness and less than 15% felt the restrictions were well enforced. About 59.4% believed the restriction could improve health, prevent disease and reduce deaths in the long-term. Two thirds (67.1%) of the participants considered the fat content of the meat they bought and related fat to health problems (38.5%) and obesity/stroke (7.4%). Local meat products (meat produced in Ghana) were more preferred due to taste, freshness and healthiness than imported meat, but imported meat types (meat imported from other countries) were more available (56.5%), cheaper (69.5%) and regularly consumed than the local types. Conclusion: There was a good level of public awareness, strong support and positive attitude towards Ghana's restrictive food standards on meat. Although preference for local meat type was greater, imported meat was more consumed due to cost and availability. Policies which limit access to, and availability of 'unhealthy' food should be implemented and enforced to improve the food environment in order to help address the growing obesity and non communicable disease trend.

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Annan, R. A., Apprey, C., Oppong, N. K., Petty-Agamatey, V., Mensah, L., & Thow, A. M. (2018). Public awareness and perception of Ghana’s restrictive policy on fatty meat, as well as preference and consumption of meat products among Ghanaian adults living in the Kumasi Metropolis. BMC Nutrition, 4(1).

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