Low potassium intake, in addition to high sodium, has been associated with higher risk of hypertension and CVD. The Study assessed habitual potassium intake and sodium/potassium ratio of the Italian adult population from 2008 to 2012 to 2018-2019 based on 24-h urine collection, in the framework of the CUORE Project/MINISAL-GIRCSI/MENO SALE PIU' SALUTE national surveys.
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. Urinary electrolyte and creatinine measurements were performed in a central laboratory. Analyses considered 942 men and 916 women, examined in 2008-2012, and 967 men and 1010 women, examined in 2018-2019. In 2008-2012, the age-standardized mean of potassium intake (urinary potassium accounts for 70% of potassium intake) was 3147 mg (95% CI 3086-3208) in men and 2784 mg (2727-2841) in women, whereas in 2018-2019, it was 3043 mg (2968-3118) and 2561 mg (2508-2614) respectively. In 2008-2012, age-adjusted prevalence of persons with an adequate potassium intake (i.e. ≥ 3510 mg/day) was 31% (95% CI 28-34%) for men and 18% (16-21%) for women; in 2018-2019, it was 26% (23-29%) and 12% (10-14%) respectively. The sodium/potassium ratio significantly decreased both in men and women.
The average daily potassium intake of the Italian general adult population remains lower than the WHO and EFSA recommended level. These results suggest the need of a revision to strengthen initiatives for the promotion of an adequate potassium intake at the population level.