Sodium and Potassium Intake in US Adults
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Article, see p 237
Quantitative estimates of sodium intake in the general population provide a basis for clinical and public health decision making. For many years, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) results have provided estimates for sodium and potassium intake in the US general noninstitutionalized population. However, these reports have been based on 24-hour dietary recalls, a method that is subject to a variety of systematic errors in the estimation of electrolyte intake and is known to underestimate dietary sodium intake and overestimate dietary potassium intake. In this issue of Circulation, Jackson et al1 provide the first nationally representative estimates for sodium and potassium intake in US adults based on carefully collected 24-hour urine collections. All of the 765 adults surveyed had at least one 24-hour urine collection, and a second collection was obtained in more than half (436) of the participants, allowing for a between-visit random error correction in estimation. The availability of national estimates based on 24-hour urine collections represents an important step forward for NHANES and a new norm for reporting dietary electrolyte intake in US adults.
As one would expect, the intake of dietary sodium was higher, and of potassium was lower, in the current report in comparison with previous NHANES estimates. The average intake of sodium was well above the current federal Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommendations of <2300 mg/d for all adults and <1500 mg/d for those ≥51 years, and those of any age who are African American, or have hypertension, diabetes mellitus, or chronic kidney disease.2 For example, the average intake of 3746 mg/d …