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Dietary salt intake assessed by 24 h urinary sodium excretion in Australian schoolchildren aged 5–13 years

journal contribution
posted on 2013-01-01, 00:00 authored by Carley GrimesCarley Grimes, Lynn RiddellLynn Riddell, Karen CampbellKaren Campbell, Caryl NowsonCaryl Nowson
Objective To measure total daily salt intake using 24 h urinary Na excretion within a sample of Victorian schoolchildren aged 5–13 years and to assess discretionary salt use habits of children and parents.

Cross-sectional study.

Setting Completed within a convenience sample of independent primary schools (n 9) located in Victoria, Australia.

Subjects Two hundred and sixty children completed a 24 h urine collection over a school (34 %) or non-school day (66 %). Samples deemed incomplete (n 18), an over-collection (n 1) or that were incorrectly processed at the laboratory (n 3) were excluded.

Results The sample comprised 120 boys and 118 girls with a mean age of 9·8 (sd 1·7) years. The average 24 h urinary Na excretion (n 238) was 103 (sd 43) mmol/24 h (salt equivalent 6·0 (sd 2·5) g/d). Daily Na excretion did not differ by sex; boys 105 (sd 46) mmol/24 h (salt equivalent 6·1 (sd 2·7) g/d) and girls 100 (sd 41) mmol/24 h (salt equivalent 5·9 (sd 2·4) g/d; P = 0·38). Sixty-nine per cent of children (n 164) exceeded the recommended daily Upper Limit for Na. Reported discretionary salt use was common: two-thirds of parents reported adding salt during cooking and almost half of children reported adding salt at the table.

Conclusions The majority of children had salt intakes exceeding the recommended daily Upper Limit. Strategies to lower salt intake in children are urgently required, and should include product reformulation of lower-sodium food products combined with interventions targeting discretionary salt use within the home.



Public health nutrition






1789 - 1795


Cambridge University Press


Cambridge, England





Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2013, Cambridge University Press