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To develop and validate a short food-frequency questionnaire to assess
habitual dietary salt intake in South Africans and to allow classification
of individuals according to intakes above or below the maximum recommended
intake of 6 g salt day−1.
Cross-sectional validation study in 324 conveniently sampled men and
Repeated 24-hour urinary Na values and 24-hour dietary recalls were obtained
on three occasions. Food items consumed by >5% of the sample and
which contributed ≥50 mg Na serving−1 were
included in the questionnaire in 42 categories. A scoring system was
devised, based on Na content of one index food per category and frequency of
Positive correlations were found between Na content of 35 of the 42 food
categories in the questionnaire and total Na intake, calculated from 24-hour
recall data. Total Na content of the questionnaire was associated with Na
estimations from 24-hour recall data (r =
0.750; P < 0.0001; n = 328) and urinary Na (r = 0.152; P
= 0.0105; n = 284). Urinary Na was higher
for subjects in tertile 3 than tertile 1 of questionnaire Na content
(P < 0.05). Questionnaire
Na content of <2400 and ≥2400 mg
day−1 equated to a reference cut-off score of 48 and
corresponded to mean (standard deviation) urinary Na values of 145 (68) and
176 (99) mmol day−1, respectively (P < 0.05). Sensitivity and
specificity against urinary Na ≥100 and <100 mmol
day−1 was 12.4% and 93.9%, respectively.
A 42-item food-frequency questionnaire has been shown to have content-,
construct- and criterion-related validity, as well as internal consistency,
with regard to categorising individuals according to their habitual salt
intake; however, the devised scoring system needs to show improved
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