New figures from the Department of Health show the nation's average salt intake is continuing to decrease slowly - with women consuming significantly less salt than men.

Survey results reveal the mean estimated salt intake for adults aged 19 to 64 years was 8.1g per day. The findings showed the intake for men was 9.3g per day, while for women it was 6.8g. The Department of Health calculated the figures by measuring the amount of sodium in the urine of more than 500 people.

It's recommended that adults consume no more than 6g of salt a day but in 2000/01 the mean estimated salt intake stood at 9.5g. In 2008, the figure was 8.6g.

Victoria Taylor, Senior Dietitian at the British Heart Foundation, said: "It's good news that salt intakes appear to be slowly falling but there is still some way to go.

"Reformulation of foods has helped to reduce salt in our diets but it's vital this work continues across the food industry so we can make further progress towards the national target of no more than 6g of salt a day.

"What is also interesting is that men are lagging behind when it comes to salt intake. We know women take advantage of food labels which could be helping them avoid salty foods, but it looks like men might need more help in the supermarket. Clear and consistent front-of-pack labels, with traffic light colours, will help us all to make healthier choices."

Issued in response to: 'National Diet and Nutrition Survey - Assessment of dietary sodium in adults (aged 19 to 64 years) in England, 2011', Katharine Sadler et al, on behalf of the Department of Health, June 2012.