Salivary α-amylase (sAA) is responsible for the ‘pre-digestion’ of starch in the oral cavity and accounts for up to 50 % of salivary protein in human saliva. An accumulating body of literature suggests that sAA is of nutritional importance; however, it is still not clear how sAA is related to individual's nutritional status. Although copy number variations (CNV) of the salivary amylase gene (AMY1) are associated with variation in sAA levels, a significant amount of sAA variation is not explained by AMY1 CNV. To measure sAA responses to gustatory stimulation with citric acid, we used sAA ratio (the ratio of stimulated sAA levels to those of resting sAA) and investigated acute sAA responses to citric acid in children with normal (Normal-BMI, n 22) and low (Low-BMI, n 21) BMI. The AMY1 gene copy number was determined by quantitative PCR. We, for the first time, demonstrated attenuated acute sAA responses (decreased sAA ratio) to gustatory stimulation in Low-BMI (thinness grade 3) children compared with the Normal-BMI children, which suggest that sAA responses to gustatory stimulation may be of nutritional importance. However, child's nutritional status was not directly related to their resting or stimulated sAA levels, and it was not associated with AMY1 gene copy number. Finally, AMY1 CNV might influence, but did not eventually determine, sAA levels in children.