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J Hum Hypertens. 2008 Jan;22(1):4-11. Epub 2007 Sep 6.

Salt and blood pressure in children and adolescents.

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Blood Pressure Unit, Cardiac and Vascular Sciences, St George's University of London, London, UK.


To study the relationship between salt intake and blood pressure in children and adolescents, we analysed the data of a large cross-sectional study (the National Diet and Nutrition Survey for young people), which was carried out in Great Britain in 1997 in a nationally representative sample of children aged between 4 and 18 years. A total of 1658 participants had both salt intake and blood pressure recorded. Salt intake was assessed by a 7-day dietary record. The average salt intake, which did not include salt added in cooking or at the table, was 4.7+/-0.2 g/day at the age of 4 years. With increasing age, there was an increase in salt intake, and by the age of 18 years, salt intake was 6.8+/-0.2 g/day. There was a significant association of salt intake with systolic blood pressure as well as with pulse pressure after adjusting for age, sex, body mass index and dietary potassium intake. An increase of 1 g/day in salt intake was related to an increase of 0.4 mm Hg in systolic and 0.6 mm Hg in pulse pressure. The magnitude of the association with systolic blood pressure is very similar to that observed in a recent meta-analysis of controlled trials where salt intake was reduced. The consistent finding of our present analysis of a random sample of free-living individuals with that from controlled salt reduction trials provides further support for a reduction in salt intake in children and adolescents.

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