Trend of salt intake measured by 24-h urine collection in the Italian adult population between the 2008 and 2018 CUORE project surveys

Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2021 Mar 10;31(3):802-813. doi: 10.1016/j.numecd.2020.10.017. Epub 2020 Oct 31.


Background and aims: The WHO Global Action Plan for the Prevention of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) recommends a 30% relative reduction in mean population salt/sodium intake. The study assessed the trend in the habitual salt intake of the Italian adult population from 2008 to 2012 to 2018-2019 based on 24-h urinary sodium excretion, in the framework of the CUORE Project/MINISAL-GIRCSI/MENO SALE PIU' SALUTE national surveys.

Methods and results: Data were from cross-sectional surveys of randomly selected age and sex-stratified samples of resident persons aged 35-74 years in 10 (out of 20) Italian Regions distributed in North, Centre and South of the Country. Urinary sodium and creatinine measurements were carried out in a central laboratory. The analyses included 942 men and 916 women examined in 2008-2012, and 967 men and 1010 women examined in 2018-2019. The age-standardized mean daily population salt (sodium chloride) intake was 10.8 g (95% CI 10.5-11.1) in men and 8.3 g (8.1-8.5) in women in 2008-2012 and respectively 9.5 g (9.3-9.8) and 7.2 g (7.0-7.4) in 2018-2019. A statistically significant (p<0.0001) salt intake reduction was thus observed over 10 years for both genders, and all age, body mass index (BMI) and educational classes.

Conclusions: The average daily salt intake of the Italian general adult population remains higher than the WHO recommended level, but a significant reduction of 12% in men and 13% in women has occurred in the past ten years. These results encourage the initiatives undertaken by the Italian Ministry of Health aimed at the reduction of salt intake at the population level.

Keywords: Epidemiology; Non-communicable diseases; Salt intake.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Chronic Disease / epidemiology
  • Chronic Disease / prevention & control*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diet / trends*
  • Diet Surveys
  • Diet, Healthy / trends*
  • Diet, Sodium-Restricted / trends*
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Italy / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Recommended Dietary Allowances
  • Risk Reduction Behavior
  • Sodium Chloride, Dietary / adverse effects
  • Sodium Chloride, Dietary / urine*
  • Time Factors
  • Urinalysis


  • Sodium Chloride, Dietary