Dietary intakes of sodium and potassium are important determinants of blood pressure. We assessed sodium and potassium intake in a cross-sectional survey which included a random sample of New Zealand Adults aged 18 to 64 years from two New Zealand cities: Dunedin and Wellington. Participants completed a short questionnaire, had height, weight and blood pressure measured, and collected a 24 h urine sample. Mean 24 h sodium excretion was 3386 mg/day (95% CI 3221, 3551): 3865 mg/day for men and for 2934 mg/day women. Mean 24 h potassium excretion was 2738 mg/day (95% CI 2623, 2855): 3031 mg/day for men and 2436 mg/day for women. Mean sodium:potassium ratio was 1.32 (95% CI 1.26, 1.39); 1.39 for men and 1.26 for women. Sodium intake was higher among younger people, men, those with a higher BMI and higher potassium excretion. Potassium excretion was higher among older people, men and those with a higher sodium excretion. New Zealand adults have high sodium intakes and low potassium intakes compared to recommended levels. This is likely to adversely affect population blood pressure levels as well as incidence of cardiovascular disease. A comprehensive public health programme to reduce dietary sodium intake and increase intake of fruit and vegetables is warranted.
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