News story

Report on dietary sodium intakes

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The Department today published the annual report on dietary sodium intakes, based on an assessment of the sodium content of urine samples collected…

The Department today published the annual report on dietary sodium intakes, based on an assessment of the sodium content of urine samples collected from July 2011 to December 2011 from a representative sample of 547 adults.

This report continues a series of urinary sodium surveys across the general adult population in United Kingdom countries since 2000/01. The results are used by government to monitor progress towards the recommended maximum salt intake for adults of no more than 6g per person per day.

The great majority of sodium intake is in the form of salt. Salt intake can be estimated by measuring urinary sodium excretion, which closely reflects an individual’s sodium intake.

Key findings

  • The mean estimated salt intake, derived from urinary sodium excretion, for adults aged 19 to 64 years was 8.1g per day. Men had a mean estimated intake of 9.3g per day, and women had a mean estimated intake of 6.8g per day
  • Overall, 70% of participants had a daily intake of salt higher than the recommendation of no more than 6g per day. 80% of men and 58% of women exceeded this recommendation
  • An analysis of trends in salt intake (g per day), including all urinary sodium surveys carried out in UK countries between 2000/01 and 2011, showed a significant downwards trend in mean salt intake overall and also for both men and women separately
  • Statistical analysis showed there has been a significant reduction in mean salt intake between 2000/01 and 2011 from 9.5g to 8.1g per day
  • The drop in estimated salt intake in 2011 compared with the previous estimate in 2008 was not statistically significant

Read the ful report