Dietary sodium, dietary potassium, and systolic blood pressure in US adolescents

J Clin Hypertens (Greenwich). 2017 Sep;19(9):904-909. doi: 10.1111/jch.13014. Epub 2017 May 8.


Both high sodium and low potassium diets are associated with hypertension, but whether these risk factors are distinct or overlapping has not been thoroughly investigated. The authors evaluated the relationship between dietary sodium, potassium, and high systolic blood pressure among 4716 adolescents aged 12 to 14 years who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 1999 to 2012. There was no association with blood pressure across most values of sodium or potassium intake. However, participants who reported sodium intake ≥7500 mg/d, potassium <700 mg/d, or sodium-potassium ratio ≥2.5 had increased odds for high systolic blood pressure (≥95th percentile for age, sex, and height). Although the high sodium and low potassium groups did not overlap, 49.2% of these adolescents also had a sodium-potassium ratio ≥2.5. In young adolescents, both excessive sodium and limited potassium are associated with high systolic blood pressure, but the balance between sodium and potassium intake may be more useful in explaining blood pressure in this population.

Keywords: NHANES; diet therapy; hypertension; public health.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Blood Pressure / physiology*
  • Blood Pressure Determination / methods
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / epidemiology
  • Hypertension / etiology*
  • Hypertension / prevention & control
  • Male
  • Nutrition Surveys
  • Potassium, Dietary / administration & dosage*
  • Potassium, Dietary / adverse effects
  • Risk Factors
  • Sodium, Dietary / administration & dosage*
  • Sodium, Dietary / adverse effects
  • United States / epidemiology


  • Potassium, Dietary
  • Sodium, Dietary