Deakin University

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Salt consumption by Australian adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis

journal contribution
posted on 2018-02-05, 00:00 authored by Mary-Anne Land, Bruce C Neal, Claire Johnson, Caryl NowsonCaryl Nowson, Claire MargerisonClaire Margerison, Kristina S Petersen
OBJECTIVE: Salt reduction is a public health priority because it is a leading contributor to the global burden of disease. As in Australia there is uncertainty about the current level of salt intake, we sought to estimate current levels. STUDY DESIGN: Random effects meta-analysis of data from 31 published studies and one unpublished dataset that reported salt or sodium consumption by Australian adults on the basis of 24-hour urine collections or dietary questionnaires. DATA SOURCES: MEDLINE (via Ovid) and EMBASE (to August 2016). DATA SYNTHESIS: Thirty-one published studies and one unpublished dataset (1989-2015; 16 836 individuals) were identified. The mean weighted salt consumption estimated from 24-hour urine collections was 8.70 g/day (95% CI, 8.39-9.02 g/day); after adjusting for non-urinary salt excretion, the best estimate of salt intake in Australia is 9.6 g/day. The mean weighted intake was 10.1 g/day (95% CI, 9.68-10.5 g/day) for men and 7.34 g/day (95% CI, 6.98-7.70 g/day) for women. Mean weighted consumption was 6.49 g/day (95% CI, 5.94-7.03 g/day) when measured with diet diaries, 6.76 g/day (95% CI, 5.48-8.05 g/day) when assessed with food frequency questionnaires, and 6.73 g/day (95% CI, 6.34-7.11) when assessed by dietary recall. Salt intake had not decreased between 1989 and 2015 (R2 = -0.02; P = 0.36). CONCLUSION: Salt intake in Australian adults exceeds the WHO-recommended maximum of 5 g/day and does not appear to be declining. Measuring salt intake with methods based on self-reporting can substantially underestimate consumption. The data highlight the need for ongoing action to reduce salt consumption in Australia and robust monitoring of population salt intake.



Medical journal of Australia






75 - 81


Australasian Medical Publishing Company


Sydney, N.S.W.





Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2018, Medical Journal of Australia