Sources of dietary salt in North and South India estimated from 24 hour dietary recall

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Nutrients, 2019, 11 (2)
Issue Date:
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© 2019 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. Recent data on salt intake levels in India show consumption is around 11 g per day, higher than the World Health Organization’s (WHO) recommended intake of 5 g per day. However, high-quality data on sources of salt in diets to inform a salt reduction strategy are mostly absent. A cross-sectional survey of 1283 participants was undertaken in rural, urban, and slum areas in North (n = 526) and South (n = 757) India using an age‐-, area‐-, and sex‐-stratified sampling strategy. Data from two 24‐-h dietary recall surveys were transcribed into a purpose‐-built nutrient database. Weighted salt intake was estimated from the average of the two recall surveys, and major contributors to salt intake were identified. Added salt contributed the most to total salt intake, with proportions of 87.7% in South India and 83.5% in North India (p < 0.001). The main food sources of salt in the south were from meat, poultry, and eggs (6.3%), followed by dairy and dairy products (2.6%), and fish and seafood (1.6%). In the north, the main sources were dairy and dairy products (6.4%), followed by bread and bakery products (3.3%), and fruits and vegetables (2.1%). Salt intake in India is high, and this research confirms it comes mainly from added salt. Urgent action is needed to implement a program to achieve the WHO salt reduction target of a 30% reduction by 2025. The data here suggest the focus needs to be on changing consumer behavior combined with low sodium, salt substitution.
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