Effect of South Africa's interim mandatory salt reduction programme on urinary sodium excretion and blood pressure

Publication Name

Preventive Medicine Reports


South Africa implemented legislation in June 2016 mandating maximum sodium (Na) levels in processed foods. A pre-post impact evaluation assessed whether the interim legislative approach reduced salt intake and blood pressure. Baseline Na intake was assessed in a nested cohort of the WHO Study on global AGEing and adult health (WHO-SAGE) Wave 2 (Aug-Dec 2015). 24-hour urine samples were collected in a random subsample (n = 1,299; of which n = 750 were considered valid (volume ≥ 300 mL and creatinine ≥ 4 mmol/day (women) or ≥ 6 mmol/day (men))). Follow-up urine samples were collected in Wave 3 (Jun 2018-Jun 2019), with replacements included for those lost to follow-up (n = 1,189; n = 548 valid). In those aged 18 − 49y, median salt intake was 7.8 (4.7, 12.0) g/day in W2 (n = 274), remaining similar in the W3 sample (7.7 (4.9, 11.3) g salt/day (n = 92); P = 0.569). In older adults (50 + y), median salt intake was 5.8 (4.0, 8.5) g/day (n = 467) in W2, and 6.0 (4.0, 8.6) g/day (n = 455) in W3 (P = 0.721). Controlling for differences in background characteristics, overall salt intake dropped by 1.15 g/day (P = 0.028). 24hr urinary Na concentrations from a countrywide South African sample suggest that salt intakes have dropped during the interim phase of mandatory sodium legislation. Further measurement of population level salt intake following stricter Na targets, enforced from June 2019, is necessary.

Open Access Status

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Article Number


Funding Number

OGHA 04034785

Funding Sponsor

National Institutes of Health



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