Fewer People Salting Food at the Table

Monday, 04 Feb 2013 01:32 PM

By Nick Tate

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If you’re still salting your food at the table, you’re becoming part of a shrinking minority, new research out of England suggests.

The number of people in England adding table salt fell by more than a quarter in the five years following a national nutritional campaign, according to a new study published in the British Journal of Nutrition.

In 2003, the U.K. Food Standards Agency and the Department of Health launched a campaign to raise public awareness of the negative impact of salt on health and pressure the food industry to reduce the amount of salt in processed foods.

Five years later, researchers from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine found the proportion of Brits reporting that they add salt at the table dropped to 23.2 percent — down from 32.5 percent in 2003. The findings are based on an examination of the salt intake of more than 6,000 adults.

"Salt use at the table accounts for 15-20 percent of total salt intake,” said lead researcher Jennifer Sutherland. “Our study shows that from 1997-2007 there was a steady decline in salt use at the table, but this reduction was greater after the introduction of the salt reduction campaign in 2003."

Researchers also found women were less likely to add salt at the table, as were those from younger age groups, non-white ethnic groups, and higher income households.

"These findings indicate a need to tailor future salt reduction efforts to specific target groups,” said co-researcher Alan Dangour, M.D., a nutritionist. “More work is needed as a quarter of adults still add salt at the table and … eating too much salt can lead to raised blood pressure, which increases the risk of heart disease and stroke."

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