Poor diet (high consumption of sugar, salt, saturated fat, etc) and unhealthy lifestyle (smoking, alcohol consumption and physical inactivity) have been identified as major risk factors of cardiovascular disease and other non-communicable diseases (NCDs). NCDs are the leading causes of death globally, killing more people each year than all other causes combined. This study was conducted to assess the dietary pattern, lifestyle, nutrition status and prevalence of hypertension among traders in Sokoto, Nigeria. A cross sectional descriptive study was conducted among 390 traders selected by multistage sampling technique from November to December, 2012. Anthropometric and blood pressure measurements were done for the participants, together with questionnaire administration. High prevalence of unhealthy eating habits was recorded among the participants; 50.7% eat their largest meal at dinner, 49.9% eat snacks everyday, 66.7% eat fatty foods, 27.1% and 33.0% drink fruit juice and carbonated drinks, respectively thrice weekly or more, 56.0 and 58.8% eat fruits and vegetables, respectively less than thrice in a week or not at all. Also, 50.7% live a sedentary lifestyle, 5.2% currently smoke cigarette and 10.8% had consumed alcohol within the past 30 days. Similarly, the prevalence of overweight (28.9%), obesity (28.1%) and hypertension (29.1%) was high among the participants. This study demonstrated high prevalence of unhealthy eating habits and lifestyle; together with high prevalence of overweight, obesity and hypertension among traders in Sokoto. Health education and other interventions to promote healthy eating habits and lifestyle, especially among high risk groups are suggested.
Key words: Dietary pattern, lifestyle, nutrition status, hypertension, prevalence.
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