Dietary Intake of Sodium during Infancy and the Cardiovascular Consequences Later in Life: A Scoping Review

Ann Nutr Metab. 2020;76(2):114-121. doi: 10.1159/000507354. Epub 2020 Apr 7.


Background: High sodium intake is a leading cause of cardiovascular diseases in adults. Further, there is evidence that events in early life are predictors for health outcomes in later life. However, little is known about the impact of early sodium intake on (cardiovascular) health outcomes in later life.

Summary: We performed a scoping review of 25 articles, including 11 review studies, 8 randomized controlled trials, 5 prospective cohort studies, and 1 retrospective cohort study, all describing the relationship between the amount of sodium intake during the first 6 months after birth and the health effects and/or risk to cardiovascular disease later in life. We divided the results into 2 different groups: human and animal studies. Key Messages: The results show that high sodium intake in the first 6 months after birth may lead to negative health effects such as higher blood pressure, due to factors like salty taste preference and alterations of the renal system. The findings of this study suggest that the amount of sodium in the diet of an infant in the first 6 months after birth may have an impact on cardiovascular health outcomes in later life.

Keywords: Blood pressure; Cardiovascular risk factors; Health outcomes; Infant nutrition; Sodium intake.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Pressure / drug effects
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Formula
  • Infant Nutritional Physiological Phenomena*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature
  • Rats
  • Sodium, Dietary / administration & dosage*
  • Sodium, Dietary / adverse effects*
  • Taste / physiology


  • Sodium, Dietary