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Public Health Nutr. 2012 Jun;15(6):1039-46. doi: 10.1017/S1368980011002497. Epub 2011 Oct 6.

Food sources and correlates of sodium and potassium intakes in Flemish pre-school children.

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  • 1Department of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Ghent University, UZ - 2 Blok A, De Pintelaan 185, B-9000 Ghent, Belgium.



The aim of the present study was to investigate dietary sources of Na and K intakes among Flemish pre-school children using multiple linear regression analyses.


Three-day estimated diet records were used to assess dietary intakes. The contribution to Na and K intakes of fifty-seven food groups was computed by summing the amount provided by the food group for all individuals divided by the total intake for all individuals.


A random cluster sampling design at the level of schools, stratified by province and age, was used.


A representative sample of 696 Flemish pre-school children aged 2·5-6·5 years was recruited.


Mean Na intake was above and mean K intake was largely below the recommendation for children. Bread (22 %) and soup (13 %) were main contributors to Na intake followed by cold meat cuts and other meat products (12 % and 11 %, respectively). Sugared milk drinks, fried potatoes, milk and fruit juices were the main K sources (13 %, 12 %, 11 % and 11 %, respectively). Although Na and K intakes were positively correlated, several food categories showed Na:K intake ratio well above one (water, cheeses, soup, butter/margarine, fast foods and light beverages) whereas others presented a ratio well below one (oil & fat, fruits & juices, potatoes, vegetables and hot beverages).


Flemish pre-school children had too high Na and too low K intakes. The finding that main dietary sources of Na and K are clearly different indicates the feasibility of simultaneously decreasing Na and increasing K intake among children.

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