Measuring population sodium intake: a review of methods

Nutrients. 2014 Oct 28;6(11):4651-62. doi: 10.3390/nu6114651.


Reduction of population sodium intake has been identified as a key initiative for reduction of Non-Communicable Disease. Monitoring of population sodium intake must accompany public health initiatives aimed at sodium reduction. A number of different methods for estimating dietary sodium intake are currently in use. Dietary assessment is time consuming and often under-estimates intake due to under-reporting and difficulties quantifying sodium concentration in recipes, and discretionary salt. Twenty-four hour urinary collection (widely considered to be the most accurate method) is also burdensome and is limited by under-collection and lack of suitable methodology to accurately identify incomplete samples. Spot urine sampling has recently been identified as a convenient and affordable alternative, but remains highly controversial as a means of monitoring population intake. Studies suggest that while spot urinary sodium is a poor predictor of 24-h excretion in individuals, it may provide population estimates adequate for monitoring. Further research is needed into the accuracy and suitability of spot urine collection in different populations as a means of monitoring sodium intake.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Creatinine / urine
  • Diet Records
  • Humans
  • Mental Recall
  • Nutrition Assessment
  • Recommended Dietary Allowances
  • Sodium Chloride, Dietary / administration & dosage*
  • Sodium Chloride, Dietary / urine*


  • Sodium Chloride, Dietary
  • Creatinine