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Sodium intake and high blood pressure among adults on caloric deficit: a multi-year cross-sectional analysis of the U.S. population, 2007–2018


Small studies have shown reduced sodium-sensitivity of blood pressure in obese adolescents on a caloric deficit. We aimed to explore the association between mean daily sodium intake and prevalent hypertension among a nationally representative sample of U.S. adults on a calorie deficit. We used a design-based regression model to explore the association between sodium intake and prevalent hypertension. We also conducted sensitivity analyses using multiple imputation chained equations and propensity score matching. We also measured the effect of a binary exposure derived from the widely recommended threshold of 2.3 grams of sodium intake per day. Among 5756 individuals, we did not detect any significant association between increased sodium and the odds of hypertension (OR: 0.97; 95% CI: 0.90; 1.05). All our sensitivity analyses are consistent with our main findings. People on a calorie deficit—a component of healthy weight loss—without malnutrition saw no benefit in reduced sodium intake to lower blood pressure. These results highlight the need to explore new population-specific strategies for sodium intake reduction, including new dietary prescription approaches to improve dietary adherence and reduce the risk associated with sodium-deficient diets.

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Fig. 1: N = Number of participants.

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Authors and Affiliations



JDR: conceptualization, methodology, formal analysis, investigation, data curation; writing—original draft. MEK: methodology, software, validation, writing—review & editing, supervision. PLJ: validation, writing—review & editing.

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Correspondence to Jorge Andrés Delgado-Ron.

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Competing interests

MEK reports grants from BC SUPPORT Unit, grants from Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research, grants from Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, personal fees from Biogen Inc., outside the submitted work.


This study is covered by item 7.10.3 in the University of British Columbia’s Policy 89 on studies involving human participants and Article 2.2 in the Tri-Council Policy Statement Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans.

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Delgado-Ron, J.A., López-Jaramillo, P. & Karim, M.E. Sodium intake and high blood pressure among adults on caloric deficit: a multi-year cross-sectional analysis of the U.S. population, 2007–2018. J Hum Hypertens 36, 968–975 (2022).

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