Journal List > Korean J Community Nutr > v.19(5) > 1038478

Lee: The Relationship between Dietary Behaviors/health Risk Factors and Preference for Salty Taste among Korean Elderly People Living in Rural Areas



Increasing salt preferences with age are said to increase preferences of salty foods, thereby leading to greater sodium consumption, which has further implication for hypertension. This study examined the link between preference of salty taste and dietary factors and health-related risk factors in Korean elderly people.


We studied 312 elderly individuals aged > 65 years (male, 100 and female, 212). With each subject, pleasant concentration of NaCl was estimated using the sipand-spit method. Dietary habits, food preferences, consumption frequencies, anthropometric and biochemical assessment were assessed.


The pleasant salt concentration was significantly increased in individuals older than 75 years (p < 0.05). Subjects who liked high concentration of salt showed significantly higher preferences for salty foods (p < 0.001). Results showed significant effects (p < 0.01) of fruit & fruit juice consumption frequencies, MNA (mini-nutritional assessment), cognition score, BMI, body fat %, waist circumference, arm circumference, calf circumference, vitamin D level that subjects who likes low salty taste were higher than subjects who likes high salty taste.


The preference for salty taste in the elderly was not correlated with hypertension. But, increased preference for salty taste with age and increased salty food preferences may result in higher sodium consumption. Therefore, nutritional education regarding lowering salt preference and favorable behaviors of low-salt diet is needed to improve the quality of life in the rural elderly.

Figures and Tables

Table 1
Characteristics of the subjects by pleasant salty taste group

1) p-value of χ2-test

2) N (%)

*: p < 0.05

Table 2
Dietary behaviors of subjects by pleasant salty taste group

1) p-value of χ2-test:

2) N (%)

*: p < 0.05

Table 3
Preferences of food taste by pleasant salty taste group

1) p-value of χ2-test

2) N (%)

***: p < 0.001

Table 4
Frequencies of food consumption by pleasant salty taste group

1) p-value of t-test

2) Frequencies of food consumption: times per week

3) Mean ± SD

*: p < 0.05

Table 5
Quality of life index, depression, cognitive function and Mini-nutritional status assessment by pleasant salty taste group

1) p-value of t-test or χ2-test

2) Quality of life index score by Nam HS et. al. (2007)

3) Mean ± SD

4) Mini-nutritional status assessment score

5) Geriatric depression scale: depressed ≥ 7

6) N (%)

7) Korean mini-mental status examination

*: p < 0.05, **: p < 0.01

Table 6
Anthropometric and biochemical measurements by pleasant salty taste group

1) p-value of t-test

2) Mean ± SD

**: p < 0.01, ***: p < 0.001

Table 7
Correlation between pleasant salt taste concentration, food consumption frequencies and various risk factors for health

1) Quality of life index score by Nam HS et. al. (2007)

2) Geriatric depression scale

3) Korean mini-mental status examination

4) Mini-nutritional status assessment score

5) Pearson's correlation coefficient (adjusted by age and sex except age's correlation was adjusted by sex)

*: p < 0.05, **: p < 0.01, ***: p < 0.001


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