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Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine - Barts and The London

Salt intake in China more than double the WHO maximum recommended level

A study of over 5300 adults across six provinces in China has shown an average salt intake of 11 grams per day, more than double the maximum level recommended by the World Health Organization. The study is the largest to date to measure urinary sodium and potassium excretion, using the most accurate method of 24-hour urine collection, in subjects representing the broad range of dietary habits and economic levels in China.

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Researchers Monique Tan, Feng He, and Graham MacGregor from Queen Mary’s Wolfson Institute, together with an international collaboration of authors from China and Australia, assessed sodium and potassium intake in relation to blood pressure. Higher salt intake and lower potassium intake (that is, a greater salt-to-potassium ratio) are known to be associated with higher blood pressure. The study found that salt intake in China remains excessively high, and potassium intake remains low.

Author Monique Tan from the Wolfson Institute said: “Urgent action is needed in China to speed up public health programmes to reduce salt and increase potassium intake simultaneously to prevent cardiovascular disease, which is responsible for 40% of all deaths in China.”  

This work is supported by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR, NIHR Global Health Research Unit Action on Salt China at Queen Mary University of London).

Yuan Li, Puhong Zhang, Jing W, Jixiang Ma, Jianwei Xu, Xiaochang Zhang, Rong Luo, Min Liu, Yuewen Sun, Xian Li, Monique Tan, Feng J He, Graham A. MacGregor, Xinhua Li. Associations with Blood Pressure among Adults in China: Baseline Survey of Action on Salt China (ASC). Hypertension. 2020