Main Article Content
Processed foods are major contributors to the population’s dietary salt intake. Sodium intake is related to several adverse health outcomes, such as hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, and death. The intake of high sodium processed foods as snacks has gone up worldwide. The aim of the study was to analyze the association between blood pressure (BP) values and sodium intake from snacks. The mean weekly consumption of snacks was evaluated in 1500 randomly selected undergraduate aged 16-24 years by a food frequency questionnaire; their anthropometrics and BP values were measured by trained researchers. The mean age, metabolic equivalent of activity (METs), body mass index (BMI) and mean sodium intake from snacks per day were; 20.10±1.44 years, 25.51±10.03 METs h/week, 24.86±4.80 kg/m2 and 1.5 g/day respectively. Systolic blood pressure (SBP) ranged between 104.43±4.89mmHg and 137.27±16.71mmHg while the diastolic blood pressure (DBP) ranged from 71.24±7.83-83.11±12.03 mmHg. The SBP and DBP significantly increased from the lower to the higher tertile of sodium from snacks and with increasing frequency of salty snacks consumption (p<0.001). In the multiple logistic regression model, being in the highest SBP quartile (≥115mmHg) was significantly associated with consumption of sodium from snacks (odds ratio (OR) =8803.14; 95% confidence interval (CI) 381.18-203301.7; p =0.000), age, gender and body mass index. Also, being in the highest DBP quartile (≥70mmHg) was significantly associated with consumption of sodium from snacks (odds ratio (OR) =2.84; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.41-5.69; P =0.003), age, body mass index, but not with gender. The study has shown that sodium intake from snack, daily frequency of consumption of salty snacks were significantly associated with BP values among the students, independently of BMI. Public education and social marketing are needed to motivate the undergraduates to choose healthier snacks with lower sodium content.