Change in mean salt intake over time using 24-h urine versus overnight and spot urine samples: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Joseph Alvin Santos, Ka Chun Li, Liping Huang, Rachael Mclean, Kristina Petersen, Gian Luca Di Tanna, Jacqui Webster

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background: Little is known about the capacity of overnight and spot urine samples to estimate changes in mean salt intake over time. The objective of this review was to compare the estimates of change in mean population salt intake based on 24-h urine and overnight/spot urine samples. Methods: Studies were systematically identified through searches of peer-reviewed databases (Medline, Embase, Global Health, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, and Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews) and grey literature. Studies that reported estimates of mean salt intake for at least two time points based on both 24-h and overnight/spot urines were deemed eligible. The capacity of overnight/spot urine samples to estimate the change in mean salt intake was assessed both at the individual-study level and overall through random-effects meta-analyses. The level of heterogeneity was assessed through the I2 statistic. Subgroup and sensitivity analyses were conducted to explore possible sources of heterogeneity, and check the robustness of the findings from the primary analysis. Results: A total of 1244 records were identified, 50 were assessed as full text, and 14 studies met the criteria, capturing data on 7291 participants from seven countries. Nine and five studies collected overnight and spot urines, respectively. The comparison of the change in mean salt intake between 24-h and overnight/spot urines showed some inconsistencies at the individual study-level. The pooled mean change in salt intake was − 0.43 g/day (95% CI − 1.16 to 0.30; I2 = 95%) using 24-h urines, and − 0.22 g/day (− 0.65 to 0.20; I2 = 87%) using overnight/spot urines, with a pooled difference-in-differences between the two methods of 0.27 g/day (− 0.23 to 0.77; I2 = 89%). Subgroup analyses showed substantial heterogeneity for most subgroups. Sensitivity analyses did not change the effect observed in the primary analysis. Conclusion: The evidence for the capacity of overnight/spot urines to estimate changes in mean salt intake over time is uncertain. More research where overnight/spot urines are collected in parallel with 24-h urines is needed to enable a more in-depth evaluation of these alternative approaches to estimating change in mean salt intake.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number136
JournalNutrition Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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