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FIGURE 5-8 Percentage contributions to sodium intake by food category for persons 2 or more years of age.

FIGURE 5-8 Percentage contributions to sodium intake by food category for persons 2 or more years of age.

SOURCE: NHANES 2003–2006.

Further, the kinds of foods that are the major contributors to sodium intake are similar across age and gender groups, as shown in Appendix F (Table F-9).

Finally, Table 5-8 provides an example to illustrate that relative to the food category that is the primary contributor to sodium intake—mixed dishes—the sodium in the mixed dish is derived from an array of items added to the dish as part of its preparation.

Contribution on Basis of Prepared Away from Home versus Prepared at Home

The definitions of foods eaten at home and those eaten away from home are given in Appendix E. As shown in Figure 5-9, in 2003–2006 about 37 percent of sodium came from food away from home. By comparison, the contribution of away-from-home foods to sodium intake is reported to have increased from 27 to 34 percent from 1987 to 1995 (Lin et al., 1999). Currently, for foods obtained at the store (and eaten at home), the main source of sodium is sandwiches, followed by pasta dishes, cereal, bread, and cheese. At restaurants, the main source is also sandwiches and then pizza, hamburgers, chicken, Mexican entrées, and salads (see Appendix F, Table F-10).

Because of the confounding effect of calories on estimates of sodium intake—persons consuming more calories have higher sodium intakes—



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