Topical Area: Nutritional Epidemiology
Objectives : This analysis used data from the 2015-2016 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) to identify major food sources of sodium, potassium, or both in the American diet.
Methods : Twenty-four-hour dietary recall data (n = 7,817) from the dietary component of the 2015-2016 NHANES was used. Data was analyzed separately for children age 2-18 years and for adults age 19+ years using day one sample weights. Percent sodium and potassium contributions from 48 food subgroups of “What We Eat in America” were determined using SAS (PROC SURVEYREG) and the ratio method.
The top five food sources of sodium for children 2-18 years of age were: mixed dishes – sandwiches (8.9%), mixed dishes – pizza (8.4%), cured meat/poultry (6.7%), mixed dishes – grain based (6.2%), and poultry (6.0%). Major food sources of potassium for children were milk (11.7%), fruits (7.1%), white potatoes (5.6%), mixed dishes – sandwiches (5.2%), and 100% fruit juices (4.8%). In adults, the top five sources of sodium were mixed dishes – sandwiches (7.5%), cured meat/poultry (7.0%), mixed dishes – Mexican (6.1%), poultry (5.5%), and breads, rolls, tortillas (5.4%). Major food sources of potassium for adults were coffee and tea (8.1%), vegetables, excluding potatoes (7.9%), fruits (6.2%), white potatoes (6.1%), and milk (4.9%). Milk was a minor source of sodium for children (2.6%) and in adults (1.2%). While previous research shows cheese as a source of sodium in the U.S. diet, cheese as consumed was not one of the top 5 sources of sodium for adults or children. However, it is a component of several of the mixed dishes identified in this analysis.
Conclusions : In children, sandwiches was a top food source of both sodium and potassium. There were no other overlaps in sources of sodium and potassium. Mixed dishes were top food sources of sodium in the diets of both children and adults, while milk, fruits, and potatoes were top food sources of potassium for both groups. This information could be used to help Americans move closer to Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommendations for both sodium and potassium.
Funding Sources : National Dairy Council