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J Am Heart Assoc. 2013 Oct 2;2(5):e000478. doi: 10.1161/JAHA.113.000478.

Twenty-two-year population trends in sodium and potassium consumption: the Minnesota Heart Survey.

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  • 1Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN.



Limiting dietary sodium consumption is a core lifestyle recommendation for the prevention of hypertension. There is increasing evidence that low potassium consumption also increases hypertension risk. We estimated sex-specific 22-year trends in sodium and potassium consumption.


We used data from the Minnesota Heart Survey, which performs surveillance of risk factors for cardiovascular disease in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area. The Minnesota Heart Survey is a random population-based sample of free-living adults aged 25 to 74. Surveys were conducted in 1985-1987 (n = 2273), 1990-1992 (n = 2487), 1995-1997 (n = 1842), 2000-2002 (n = 2759), and 2007-2009 (n = 1502). Dietary intake of sodium and potassium was estimated from one 24-hour dietary recall. Over 22 years, age-adjusted sodium and potassium intake among men remained relatively stable in 1985-1987 and 2007-2009 (Ptrend = 0.41 and 0.29, respectively); sodium ranged from 3820 mg/day (1995-1997) to 3968 mg/day (2007-2009) and potassium from 3111 mg/day (2000-2002) to 3249 mg/day (1995-1997). Sodium and potassium intake increased among women, from 2531 mg/day in 1985-1987 to 2854 mg/day in 2007-2009 (Ptrend = 0.001) for sodium and from 2285 to 2533 mg/day (Ptrend < 0.0001) for potassium. We observed stable or increasing sodium and potassium intake within some strata of age, education, and body mass index.


Despite long-standing public health recommendations to limit sodium intake to < 2300 mg/day, high sodium intake levels have persisted over the past 22 years. Furthermore, although potassium consumption increased in some subgroups over the study period, mean consumption remained significantly lower than the recommended 4700 mg/day in all groups.


diet; population; potassium; prevention; risk factors; sodium

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