London: If you are suffering from high blood pressure, check your Body Mass Index (BMI) first as a new study indicates sodium intake has less impact on overall health than previously thought.
Using the data from a cross-sectional analysis of 8,670 volunteers from the NutriNet-Sante Study -- an ongoing French web-based cohort study, researchers found that BMI was the main contributory factor of blood pressure (BP) level.
During the study, dietary intakes were assessed using three 24-hour records.
Information on lifestyle factors was collected using questionnaires and three BP measurements.
Age adjusted associations and then multi-variate associations between systolic BP (SBP) - pressure that is created on the arteries to send blood throughout the rest of the body - and lifestyle behaviours were estimated using multiple linear regressions.
They found that the SBP was higher in participants with elevated body mass indices (BMIs).
Salt intake was positively associated with SBP in men but not in women.
"The negative relationship between consumption of fruits and vegetables and SBP was significant in both sexes," the study authors noted.
Alcohol intake was positively associated with SBP in both sexes while physical activity was not.
"Age and BMI were the most important parameters relating to SBP level," researchers concluded in a paper appeared in the journal American Journal of Hypertension.