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To examine temporal trends and determinants of discretionary salt use in the USA.
Multiple logistic regression was used to assess temporal trends in discretionary salt use at the table and during home cooking/preparation, adjusting for demographic characteristics, using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2003–2012. Prevalence and determinants of discretionary salt use in 2009–2012 were also examined.
Participants answered salt use questions after completing a 24 h dietary recall in a mobile examination centre.
Nationally representative sample of non-institutionalized US children and adults, aged ≥2 years.
From 2003 to 2012, the proportion of the population who reported using salt ‘very often’ declined; from 18 % to 12 % for use at the table (P<0·01) and from 42 % to 37 % during home cooking (P<0·02). While one-third of the population reported never adding salt at the table, most used it during home cooking/preparation (93 %). Use of discretionary salt was least commonly reported among young children and older adults and demographic and health subgroups at risk of CVD.
While most people reported using salt during home cooking/preparation, a minority reported use at the table. Reported ‘very often’ discretionary salt use has declined. That discretionary salt use is less common among those at risk of CVD suggests awareness of messages to limit Na intake.
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