Assessment of Sodium Knowledge and Urinary Sodium Excretion among Regions of the United Arab Emirates: A Cross-Sectional Study.Nutrients. 2020 Sep 09; 12(9)N
Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes, are increasing worldwide and cause 65% to 78% of deaths in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). A random sample of 477 healthy adults were recruited in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the period March-June 2015. Demographic, lifestyle, medical, anthropometric and sodium excretion data were collected. A questionnaire was used to measure knowledge, attitude and practice regarding salt. Mean sodium and potassium excretion were 2713.4 ± 713 mg/day and 1803 ± 618 mg/day, respectively, significantly higher than the World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations for sodium (2300 mg/day) and lower for potassium (3150 mg/day). Two-thirds (67.4%) exceeded sodium guidelines, with males 2.6 times more likely to consume excessively. The majority of the participants add salt during cooking (82.5%) and whilst eating (66%), and 75% identified processed food as high source of salt. Most (69.1%) were aware that excessive salt could cause disease. Most of the UAE population consumes excess sodium and insufficient potassium, likely increasing the risk of NCDs. Despite most participants being aware that high salt intake is associated with adverse health outcomes, this did not translate into salt reduction action. Low-sodium, high-potassium dietary interventions such as the Mediterranean diet are vital in reducing the impact of NCDs in the UAE.