Article Text


Is socioeconomic status associated with dietary sodium intake in Australian children? A cross-sectional study
  1. Carley A Grimes,
  2. Karen J Campbell,
  3. Lynn J Riddell,
  4. Caryl A Nowson
  1. Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition Research, School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Deakin University, Burwood, Victoria, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Ms Carley A Grimes; carley.grimes{at}


Objective To assess the association between socioeconomic status (SES) and dietary sodium intake, and to identify if the major dietary sources of sodium differ by socioeconomic group in a nationally representative sample of Australian children.

Design Cross-sectional survey.

Setting 2007 Australian National Children's Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey.

Participants A total of 4487 children aged 2–16 years completed all components of the survey.

Primary and secondary outcome measures Sodium intake was determined via one 24 h dietary recall. The population proportion formula was used to identify the major sources of dietary salt. SES was defined by the level of education attained by the primary carer. In addition, parental income was used as a secondary indicator of SES.

Results Dietary sodium intake of children of low SES background was 2576 (SEM 42) mg/day (salt equivalent 6.6 (0.1) g/day), which was greater than that of children of high SES background 2370 (35) mg/day (salt 6.1 (0.1) g/day; p<0.001). After adjustment for age, gender, energy intake and body mass index, low SES children consumed 195 mg/day (salt 0.5 g/day) more sodium than high SES children (p<0.001). Low SES children had a greater intake of sodium from processed meat, gravies/sauces, pastries, breakfast cereals, potatoes and potato snacks (all p<0.05).

Conclusions Australian children from a low SES background have on average a 9% greater intake of sodium from food sources compared with those from a high SES background. Understanding the socioeconomic patterning of salt intake during childhood should be considered in interventions to reduce cardiovascular disease.

  • Nutrition & Dietetics
  • Epidemiology

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial License, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non commercial and is otherwise in compliance with the license. See: and

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.