​National Diet and Nutrition Survey: Assessment of dietary sodium

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An Official Statistics Publication for Scotland

National Diet and Nutrition Survey: Assessment of dietary sodium

Adults (19 to 64 years) in Scotland, 2014

As part of the National Diet and Nutrition Survey rolling programme, adults aged 19 to 64 years in Scotland took part in the survey by providing a 24-hour urine collection. The adults were selected to be representative of the population and the analysis was based on 663 samples. Urine samples were collected over five months (May to September) in 2014, running concurrently with a survey in England.

Urine collected over a 24 hour period is the best method for measuring salt intake. This is because salt intake cannot be measured precisely either by taking blood samples or by estimating the amount eaten from a food diary.

Salt is the major source of sodium in the diet, the key evidence for the association with blood pressure relates to sodium. It is sodium that is measured in the urine.

Key findings

  • There was a significant downward linear trend in salt intake in Scotland between 2006 and 2014 of approximately 13%
  • In 2014 the mean estimated salt intake for adults aged 19 to 64 years in Scotland was 7.8g/day; 8.6g/day for men and 6.9g/day for women. On average salt intakes were 29% higher than recommended, with two-thirds of adults eating too much salt
  • There were no statistically significant differences between the salt intake for adults in Scotland and England for the 2014 surveys for all adults combined and when split by sex.