Asian American dietary sources of sodium and salt behaviors compared with other racial/ethnic groups, NH ANES , 2011-2012

Melanie J. Firestone, Jeannette M. Beasley, Simona C. Kwon, Jiyoung Ahn, Chau Trinh-Shevrin, Stella S. Yi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Objective: Asian Americans consume more sodium than other racial/ethnic groups. The purpose of this analysis was to describe major sources of sodium intake to inform sodium reduction initiatives. Methods: Cross-sectional data on adults (aged >18 years) from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2011-2012 with one 24-hour dietary recall were analyzed (n=5,076). Population proportions were calculated from "What We Eat in America" (WWEIA) food categories. Results: Asian Americans had a higher sodium density vs adults of other racial/ ethnic groups (means in mg/1000kcal: Asian American, 2031.1; Hispanic,1691.6; White: 1666.5; Black: 1655.5; P<.05, all). Half of sodium consumed by Asian Americans came from the top 10 food categories, in contrast to Hispanics (43.6%), Whites (39.0%), and Blacks (36.0%). Four food categories were a top source of sodium for Hispanics, Whites, Blacks, and others, but not among Asian Americans: cold cuts and cured meats; meat mixed dishes; eggs and omelets; and cheese. The top three food category sources of sodium among Asians were soups, rice, and yeast breads accounting for 28.9% of dietary sodium. Asian Americans were less likely to add salt at the table, but used salt in food preparation 'very often' (P for both <.01). Conclusions: Mean sodium consumption and sources vary across racial/ethnic groups with highest consumption in Asian Americans. Given the smaller number of food categories contributing to sodium intake in Asian Americans, results imply that targeted activities on a few food items would have a large impact on reducing sodium intake in this group.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)241-248
Number of pages8
JournalEthnicity and Disease
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2017


  • Asian Americans
  • Ethnicity
  • Race
  • Sodium
  • Age Factors
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Nutrition Surveys
  • Cardiovascular Diseases/ethnology
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Feeding Behavior/ethnology
  • Incidence
  • Young Adult
  • United States/epidemiology
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Diet/ethnology
  • Racial Groups
  • Sodium, Dietary/pharmacology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology


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