MRC Elsie Widdowson Laboratory

Estimated salt intake status for adults (19 to 64 years) in Northern Ireland now published

Today, Food Standards Agency in Northern Ireland have released the first Northern Ireland specific report with 24-hour urine estimated salt intake results; National Diet and Nutrition Survey: Assessment of dietary sodium Adults (19 to 64 years) in Northern Ireland, 2015. The report covers urinary sodium excretion and estimated salt intake results for 609 adults aged 19 to 64 years in Northern Ireland, based on analysis of 24-hour urine samples collected over seven months (February to August) in 2015. Similar surveys were run in England, published on the 22nd March 2016 and Scotland, published on the 23rd March 2016.

HNR provides the scientific lead for the UK NDNS Rolling Programme and country-specific sodium surveys These are government funded and are carried out in collaboration with NatCen Social Research.

This report provides the first Northern Ireland specific assessment of salt intake in adults (19 to 64 years) and includes a comparison between estimated salt intakes in Northern Ireland in 2015 and those in England and Scotland in 2014. Estimated salt intake was calculated using the equation 17.1mmol of sodium = 1g of salt and assumes all sodium was derived from salt. Results for estimated salt intake are compared with the Scientific Advisory Committee for Nutrition (SACN) threshold for the population salt intake to reduce to no more than 6g per day.

Key findings

2015 estimated salt intake in Northern Ireland

  • In 2015 the mean estimated salt intake for adults aged 19 to 64 years in Northern Ireland was 8.6g/day (on average 43% higher than the recommended maximum); 10.0g/day for men and 7.1g/day for women.

Comparison of estimated salt intake in Northern Ireland in 2015 with that in England and Scotland in 2014

  • There was no statistically significant difference between the geometric mean salt intake for all adults combined in the Northern Ireland 2015 sodium survey (7.7g/day) and the England 2014 sodium survey (7.2g/day). However, geometric mean salt intake was significantly higher in Northern Ireland (7.7g/day) than in the Scotland 2014 sodium survey (7.1g/day) for all adults combined.
  • Geometric mean salt intake was significantly higher for men in Northern Ireland in 2015 (9.3g/day) compared with men in England (8.5g/day) and Scotland (8.0g/day) in 2014. There were no statistically significant differences for women.

For more information and data, see the full report on the Food Standards Agency in Northern Ireland website.

See also