People with less money eat more salt than wealthier people living in the same regions, found a new British study, suggesting that social inequalities reverberate in complicated ways through our dietary choices and health consequences.
High sodium intake is linked to high blood pressure, which increases the risks of cardiovascular disease. And both high blood pressure and related diseases tend to be higher in socially disadvantaged groups of people.
For the new study, researchers from the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom used data collected on more than 2,000 people in a national dietary survey conducted in 2000 and 2001. Most of the participants kept a food diary for seven days. The researchers also tested sodium levels in their urine over a 24-hour period.
Overall, the researchers reported in the BMJ Open journal, people in Scotland ate more salt than people in England or Wales.
But when the scientists broke down the data by demographics, they found that, within the same geographic regions, salt consumption was highest in people with the lowest levels of education and in those who did manual labor. Both are signs of low socioeconomic status.