MRC Elsie Widdowson Laboratory

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

Today, Food Standards Scotland published the latest 24-hour urine estimated salt intake results from the National Diet and Nutrition Survey: Assessment of dietary sodium Adults (19 to 64 years) in Scotland, 2014. The report covers urinary sodium excretion and estimated salt intake results for 663 adults aged 19 to 64 years in Scotland, based on analysis of 24-hour urine samples collected over five months (May to September) in 2014. An identical survey was run concurrently in England published on the 22nd March 2016. The report for a recent sodium survey in Northern Ireland was published on 28th July 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 latest assessment of salt intake in adults (19 to 64 years) in Scotland and includes an updated trend analysis, which supersedes that presented in previous reports. As part of the current report, work was undertaken to enable comparison of data from different time points which were obtained using different laboratory methods. 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 and long standing Scottish Dietary Goal for the population salt intake to reduce to no more than 6g per day.

Key findings

2014 estimated salt intake in Scotland

  • In 2014 the mean estimated salt intake for adults aged 19 to 64 years was 7.8g/day; 8.6g/day for men and 6.9g/day for women. On average 29% higher than the recommended maximum. 

Estimated salt intake in Scotland 2006 – 2014

  • The analysis which investigated both gradual trends and step-changes between the period 2006 and 2014 showed a statistically significant downward linear trend in the geometric mean salt intake from 2006 (8.2g/day) to 2014 (7.1g/day). This 1.1g difference equates to a relative reduction in mean estimated salt intake of approximately 13%.

Comparison of estimated salt intake in Scotland and England in 2014

  • 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. The results showed that in 2014 the geometric mean salt intake in Scotland (7.1g/day) was similar to that in England (7.2g/day) for males and females combined.

For more information and data, see the full report on the Food Standards Scotland website.

See also