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To examine the relationship between sodium intake and urinary albumin excretion, being an established risk marker for later cardiovascular morbidity and mortality.Cross-sectional cohort study using linear regression analysis.University hospital outpatient clinic.A cohort drawn from the general population, consisting of 7850 subjects 28–75 years of age, all inhabitants of the city of Groningen, the Netherlands. The cohort is enriched for the presence of subjects with elevated urinary albumin concentration.The results show a positive relationship between dietary sodium intake and urinary albumin excretion. The association was independent of other cardiovascular risk factors (such as sex, age, blood pressure, body mass index (BMI), waist-to-hip ratio, serum cholesterol, plasma glucose and smoking) and other food constituents (calcium, potassium and protein). The relationship between sodium intake and urinary albumin excretion was steeper in subjects with a higher BMI compared with a lower BMI.Sodium intake is positively related to urinary albumin excretion. This relation is more pronounced in subjects with a higher BMI. These results suggest that high sodium intake may unfavourably influences cardiovascular prognosis especially in overweight and obese subjects.