Background/Aims: Excessive dietary salt in childhood has impacts on blood pressure and the establishment of taste preferences. This study explores the association between socioeconomic status (SES) and salt intake assessed by 24-hr urinary sodium excretion in Australian children.
Methods: Cross-sectional study conducted with a convenience sample of children aged 4-12 years, in 42 Victorian primary schools. Total sodium intake was determined using a single 24-hr urine sample. SES was defined by parent education level, and split into three levels. Between group differences were determined using linear regression with cluster robust standard errors to account for school clusters.
Results: Valid urine results and SES data were available for 569 children with mean age of 9.2(1.9) (SD) years with a mean (±SEM) sodium excretion of 102 ± 2.2 mmol/d. For low (n=137), medium (n=85) and high (n=347) SES groups, sodium excretion was 110 ± 4.0, 100 ± 3.6 and 99 ± 2.7 mmol/d respectively. Sodium excretion differed across SES groups (P<0.05). Further adjustment for age, gender and day type of the urine collection did not change this result.
Conclusions: Children in lower SES families have an 11% higher mean intake of salt compared to those in higher SES groups. Given the lifelong health impacts of higher salt intake, this should be considered in the development of future public health interventions.
Funding Source(s): NHF