Salt intake is related to soft drink consumption in children and adolescents: a link to obesity?

Hypertension. 2008 Mar;51(3):629-34. doi: 10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.107.100990.


Dietary salt is a major determinant of fluid intake in adults; however, little is known about this relationship in children. Sugar-sweetened soft drink consumption is related to childhood obesity, but it is unclear whether there is a link between salt and sugar-sweetened soft drink consumption. We analyzed the data of a cross-sectional study, the National Diet and Nutrition Survey for young people in Great Britain. Salt intake and fluid intake were assessed in 1688 participants aged 4 to 18 years, using a 7-day dietary record. There was a significant association between salt intake and total fluid, as well as sugar-sweetened soft drink consumption (P<0.001), after adjusting for potential confounding factors. A difference of 1 g/d in salt intake was associated with a difference of 100 and 27 g/d in total fluid and sugar-sweetened soft drink consumption, respectively. These results, in conjunction with other evidence, particularly that from experimental studies where only salt intake was changed, demonstrate that salt is a major determinant of fluid and sugar-sweetened soft drink consumption during childhood. If salt intake in children in the United Kingdom was reduced by half (mean decrease: 3 g/d), there would be an average reduction of approximately 2.3 sugar-sweetened soft drinks per week per child. A reduction in salt intake could, therefore, play a role in helping to reduce childhood obesity through its effect on sugar-sweetened soft drink consumption. This would have a beneficial effect on preventing cardiovascular disease independent of and additive to the effect of salt reduction on blood pressure.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Carbonated Beverages / adverse effects*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / physiopathology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Drinking / drug effects*
  • Drinking / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / complications
  • Hypertension / etiology
  • Hypertension / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Nutrition Surveys
  • Obesity / complications
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Obesity / etiology*
  • Obesity / physiopathology
  • Prevalence
  • Sex Factors
  • Sodium Chloride, Dietary / adverse effects
  • Sodium Chloride, Dietary / pharmacology*
  • Sweetening Agents
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology


  • Sodium Chloride, Dietary
  • Sweetening Agents