Highly processed foods such as convenience foods usually have a high salt content and therefore might indirectly act as adipogenic due to an increasing consumption of sugar-containing beverages (SCB). We examined the association between dietary salt and body weight status.
We used data on urinary Na excretion as an indicator of dietary salt and BMI standard deviation score (BMI-SDS) and percentage body fat (%BF) of children and adolescents participating in the DONALD (Dortmund Nutritional and Anthropometric Longitudinally Designed) Study.
Children and adolescents (n 364) who had at least two 24 h urine samples and two dietary records in the observational period between 2003 and 2009 were considered in our data analysis.
Repeated-measures regression models revealed that urinary Na was positively associated with BMI-SDS (+0·202 SDS/g Na excretion at baseline; P < 0·001) and %BF (+1·303 %BF/g Na excretion at baseline; P < 0·01) at baseline in boys and girls. These associations remained significant after adjustment for SCB consumption and total energy intake. Furthermore, there was a positive trend between baseline Na excretion and the individual change in %BF in the study period (+0·364 increase in %BF/g Na excretion at baseline), which was confirmed after inclusion of SCB consumption or total energy intake. There was no significant association between the change in Na excretion and the concurrent change of either BMI-SDS or %BF in any model.
Our results suggest that a high intake of processed salty foods could have a negative impact on body weight status in children and adolescents independently from their consumption of SCB.
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