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Estimation of salt intake and excretion in children in one region of Switzerland: a cross-sectional study

Abstract

Purpose

Salt intake among children in Switzerland is unknown. The objectives of this study were to determine salt excretion and to identify the main dietary sources of salt intake among children in one region of Switzerland.

Methods

We conducted a cross-sectional study using a convenient sample of children 6–16 years of age in Valais, Switzerland, between 2016 and 2018. All children visiting several regional health care providers and without any clinical condition that could affect sodium intake or excretion were eligible. Each child completed a 24-h urine collection to assess salt excretion and two dietary questionnaires to assess dietary sources of salt intake. Weight and height were measured.

Results

Data were available on 94 children (55 boys and 39 girls; mean age 10.5 years; age range 6–16 years). The mean 24-h salt urinary excretion was 5.9 g [SD 2.8; range 0.8–16.0; 95% confidence interval (CI) 5.3–6.5]. Two-thirds (62%) of the children had salt excretions above recommendations of maximum intake (i.e., ≥ 2 g per day for children up to 6 years of age and ≥ 5 g per day for children 7–16 years of age). The salt excretion tended to be higher during the week-end (6.0 g, 95% CI 5.4–6.6) than during the week (5.4 g, 95% CI 4.3–6.7). The main sources of salt intake were pastas, potatoes, and rice (23% of total salt intake), pastries (16%), bread (16%), and cured meats (10%). One child out of three (34%) added salt to their plate at the table.

Conclusions

Salt intake in children in one region of Switzerland was high. Our findings suggest that salt intake in children could be reduced by lowering salt content in commonly eaten foods.

Trial registration number

NCT02900261.

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Acknowledgements

We thank the participants and their parents for taking part in the study and Mrs Marie-France Rudaz and her team for the laboratory analyses.

Funding

This work was funded by the Swiss Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office (FSVO) (funding reference number 5.15.03). The funder had no role in the protocol development, data collection, data analysis, interpretation or publication of the results.

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Correspondence to Magali Rios-Leyvraz.

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Rios-Leyvraz, M., Bovet, P., Bochud, M. et al. Estimation of salt intake and excretion in children in one region of Switzerland: a cross-sectional study. Eur J Nutr 58, 2921–2928 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00394-018-1845-4

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00394-018-1845-4

Keywords

  • Salt
  • Sodium chloride
  • Urinary excretion
  • Children
  • Adolescents
  • Food frequency questionnaire
  • Switzerland