In China, few people are aware of the amount and source of their salt intake. We conducted a survey to investigate the consumption and sources of dietary salt using the “one-week salt estimation method” by weighing cooking salt and major salt-containing food, and estimating salt intake during dining out based on established evidence. Nine hundred and three families (1981 adults and 971 children) with students in eight primary or junior high schools in urban and suburban Beijing were recruited. On average, the daily dietary salt intake of family members in Beijing was 11.0 (standard deviation: 6.2) g for children and adolescents (under 18 years old), 15.2 (9.1) g for adults (18 to 59 years old), and 10.2 (4.8) g for senior citizens (60 years old and over), respectively. Overall, 60.5% of dietary salt was consumed at home, and 39.5% consumed outside the home. Approximately 90% of the salt intake came from cooking (household cooking and cafeteria or restaurant cooking), while less than 10% came from processed food. In conclusion, the dietary salt intake in Beijing families far surpassed the recommended amounts by World Health Organization, with both household cooking and dining-out as main sources of salt consumption. More targeted interventions, especially education about major sources of salt and corresponding methods for salt reduction should be taken to reduce the risks associated with a high salt diet.
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