Higher salt intakes found in people with lower socioeconomic status

A recent study carried out by fellow CASH member Francesco Cappuccio and colleagues has shown that people in lower socioeconomic groups eat more salt.

Lower socioeconomic status groups have long been known to consume a diet of foods which are cheaper, less nutritious and more energy dense, and consequently have an increased prevalence of heart disease and stroke. This study shows for the first time, a clear and consistent relationship between salt intake and economic status, which could explain the increased risk of heart disease in poorer citizens.

Sodium data from over 2000 white participants were analysed from the 2000-2001 National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS), using a 7 day dietary record and a 24 hour urinary collection. The variation of salt intake in Great Britain was evaluated, and revealed greater salt intakes in Scotland, compared to England and Wales.  Higher levels of salt intake were also detected in those of low socioeconomic positions, regardless of where they live.

This information corresponds to data collected over 10 years ago. Since then, the government (Department of Health) and NGOs (including CASH) have run national salt reduction campaigns and worked closely with manufacturers and retailers to help reduce the amount of salt in processed foods. As a result, salt intake in the UK has fallen from 9.5g/day to 8.1g/day since 2004.

The identification of people and geographical locations with greater intakes of salt will certainly provide useful information to increase public awareness and embark on more effective and appropriate actions to prevent cardiovascular disease.



Chen Ji, Ngianga-Bakwin Kandala, Francesco P Cappuccio. (2013). Spatial variation of salt intake in Britain and association with socioeconomic status. BMJ Open 2013;3:e002246