Food taboos among residents at Ashongman - Accra, Ghana

Cynthia Gadegbeku, Rabaa Wayo, Gifty Ackah – Badu, Emefa Nukpe, Atukwei Okai


A cross sectional survey was conducted in Ashongman Village with the aim of investigating respondents’ knowledge, the extent of belief, reasons (if any) behind their existence and knowledge about the effects of food taboos. A total of 200 adults selected purposively were interviewed. Data collected was coded, entered and analyzed using the Statistical Package of Social Sciences (S.P.S.S. Version 18). The Pearson’s chi-square test was used to test the relationship between education, ethnic groups and the belief and adherence to food taboos. Most respondents were females (55%), 30 years and above (67%), single (59%) , Christians (93%) and some form of formal education. The study sample belonged to varied ethnic groups with the main group being Akans (47%). Analysis of the data revealed 60% of respondents had knowledge about food taboos but only 37% actually believed and adhered to them. Fifty-seven (57%) of foods prohibited were of animal origin whiles 43% were of plant origin. Various reasons ranging from cultural, religious, health, magical thinking, ethics, sympathy and compassion were given to explain the prevalence and adherence to food taboos. It was also realized that most respondents had knowledge about the harmful effect of the adherence to food taboos. Education was an important factor realized as being responsible for the prevalence of food taboos. It was recommended that further research on food taboos and food security among specific groups especially the vulnerable in society (i.e. women and children) be conducted.  Secondly, because of the nutritional implications for adhering to food taboos in developing countries, a subtle community nutrition campaign needs to be organized by relevant stakeholders to sensitize people about the effect of adhering to food taboos.

Keywords: Food taboos


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ISSN (Paper)2224-6088 ISSN (Online)2225-0557

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