Salt intake is less in fairly wealthy people in Britain

saltResearchers have found a direct relation between the salt intake and the social inequalities.

This research has been published online in the BMJ Open journal.

Researchers in this study worked on the dietary salt intake in Britain in different regions and found its relation with the manual occupations and the education as these are among the key indicators of the socio-economic position and the health. They used the British National Diet and Nutrition Survey (2000-1), a national representative sample of 2,105 men and women in the age range of 19-64 years living in Britain. Two individual methods were considered to determine the salt intake i.e. dietary record of 7 days and the ‘gold standard’ 24h urine collections for sodium determination (that is the direct marker of salt intake).

Researchers found that the people, living anywhere, from the low socio-economic background, i.e. people with low educational achievements and in manual occupations, in Britain eat more salt than the people with a well-off position. They have also reported that geographically, people of Scotland utilize more salt as compared to the people living in England and Wales.

“These results are important as they explain in part why people of low socio-economic background are more likely to develop high blood pressure (hypertension) and to suffer disproportionately from strokes, heart attacks and renal failure.” Professor Francesco Cappuccio, senior author and Director of the WHO Collaborating Centre, said in a statement.

Ms Teresa Morris of said in a statement, which funded the study, said, “Habitual salt intake in most adult populations around the world exceeds 10 g per day and the World Health Organization recommends that daily intake should not exceed 5 g .

“Population salt reduction programmes are a cost-effective way of reducing the burden of cardiovascular disease nationally and globally.”

Professor Cappuccio added, “We have seen a reduction in salt intake in Britain from 9.5 to 8.1 g per day in the period 2004-2011, thanks to an effective policy which included awareness campaigns, food reformulation and monitoring.

“Whilst this is an achievement to celebrate, our results suggest the presence of social inequalities in levels of salt intake that would underestimate the health risks in people who are worse off – and these are the people who need prevention most.

“The diet of disadvantaged socio-economic groups tends to be made up of low-quality, salt-dense, high-fat, high-calorie unhealthy cheap foods.

“Behavioural approaches to healthy eating are unlikely to bring about the changes necessary to halt the cardiovascular epidemic and would also widen inequalities.

“Since the majority of dietary salt is added during commercial food production, widespread and continued food reformulation is necessary through both voluntary as well as regulatory means to make sure that salt reduction is achieved across all socio-economic groups”, Professor Cappuccio concluded.

Here, one thing could be considered that is whether increased salt intake is linked to lower socio-economic status or lower socio-economic status is linked to increased salt intake. Moreover, why the salt intake is more in the people with poor socio-economic background?


Chen Ji, Ngianga-Bakwin Kandala, Francesco P Cappuccio, (2012). Spatial variation of salt intake in Britain and association with socioeconomic status.

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