Spot urine and 24-h diet recall estimates of dietary sodium intake from the 2008/09 New Zealand Adult Nutrition Survey: a comparison



We aimed to test the difference between estimates of dietary sodium intake using 24-h diet recall and spot urine collection in a large sample of New Zealand adults.


We analysed spot urine results, 24-h diet recall, dietary habits questionnaire and anthropometry from a representative sample of 3312 adults aged 15 years and older who participated in the 2008/09 New Zealand Adult Nutrition Survey. Estimates of adult population sodium intake were derived from 24-h diet recall and spot urine sodium using a formula derived from analysis of INTERSALT data. Correlations, limits of agreement and mean difference were calculated for the total sample, and for population subgroups.


Estimated total population 24-h urinary sodium excretion (mean (95% CI)) from spot urine samples was 3035 mg (2990, 3079); 3612 mg (3549, 3674) for men and 2507 mg (2466, 2548) for women. Estimated mean usual daily sodium intake from 24-h diet recall data (excluding salt added at the table) was 2564 mg (2519, 2608); 2849 mg (2779, 2920) for men and 2304 mg (2258, 2350) for women. Correlations between estimates were poor, especially for men, and limits of agreement using Bland–Altman mean difference analysis were wide.


There is a poor agreement between estimates of individual sodium intake from spot urine collection and those from 24-hour diet recall. Although, both 24-hour dietary recall and estimated urinary excretion based on spot urine indicate mean population sodium intake is greater than 2 g, significant differences in mean intake by method deserve further investigation in relation to the gold standard, 24-hour urinary sodium excretion.

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The New Zealand Ministry of Health funded the 2008/09 New Zealand Adult Nutrition Survey. The New Zealand Crown is the owner of the copyright of the survey data. The results presented in this paper are the work of the authors.

Author contributions

R.M.M. designed the study, analysed the data and wrote the manuscript. S.M.W. advised on study design, data analysis and contributed to the writing of the manuscript. L.A.T.M. analysed the data, advised on study design and contributed to the writing and reviewing of the manuscript. J.I.M. advised on study design reviewed the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Rachael M McLean.

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McLean, R.M., Williams, S.M., Te Morenga, L.A. et al. Spot urine and 24-h diet recall estimates of dietary sodium intake from the 2008/09 New Zealand Adult Nutrition Survey: a comparison. Eur J Clin Nutr 72, 1120–1127 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41430-018-0176-0

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