Background: The US population consumes dietary sodium well in excess of recommended levels. It is unknown how the contribution of snack foods to sodium intake has changed over time, and whether disparities exist within specific subgroups of the US population. Objective: To examine short and long term trends in the contribution of snack food sources to dietary sodium intake for US adults and children over a 37-year period from 1977 to 2014. Methods: We used data collected from eight nationally representative surveys of food intake in 50,052 US children aged 2–18 years, and 73,179 adults aged 19+ years between 1977 and 2014. Overall, patterns of snack food consumption, trends in sodium intake from snack food sources and trends in food and beverage sources of sodium from snack foods across race-ethnic, age, gender, body mass index, household education and income groups were examined. Results: In all socio-demographic subgroups there was a significant increase in both per capita sodium intake, and the proportion of sodium intake derived from snacks from 1977–1978 to 2011–2014 (p
< 0.01). Those with the lowest household education, Non-Hispanic Black race-ethnicity, and the lowest income had the largest increase in sodium intake from snacks. While in 1977–1978 Non-Hispanic Blacks had a lower sodium intake from snacks compared to Non-Hispanic Whites (p
< 0.01), in 2011–2014 they had a significantly higher intake. Conclusions:
Important disparities are emerging in dietary sodium intake from snack sources in Non-Hispanic Blacks. Our findings have implications for future policy interventions targeting specific US population subgroups.
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