Sodium and potassium urinary excretion and dietary intake: a cross-sectional analysis in adolescents

  • Carla Gonçalves Faculty of Nutrition and Food Sciences, University of Porto
  • Sandra Abreu
  • Patrícia Padrão
  • Olívia Pinho
  • Pedro Graça
  • João Breda
  • Rute Santos
  • Pedro Moreira
Keywords: urinary sodium, urinary potassium, intake, adolescents, salt


Background: Hypertension is the leading cause for heart disease and stroke, for mortality and morbidity worldwide, and a high sodium-to-potassium intake ratio is considered a stronger risk factor for hypertension than sodium alone.

Objective: This study aims to evaluate sodium and potassium urinary excretion, and assess the food sources of these nutrients in a sample of Portuguese adolescents.

Design: A cross-sectional study with a sample of 250 Portuguese adolescents. Sodium and potassium excretion were measured by one 24-h urinary collection, and the coefficient of creatinine was used to validate completeness of urine collections. Dietary sources of sodium and potassium were assessed using a 24-h dietary recall.

Results: Valid urine collections were provided by 200 adolescents (118 girls) with a median age of 14.0 in both sexes (p=0.295). Regarding sodium, the mean urinary excretion was 3,725 mg/day in boys and 3,062 mg/day in girls (p<0.01), and 9.8% of boys and 22% of girls met the World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations for sodium intake. Concerning potassium, the mean urinary excretion was 2,237 mg/day in boys and 1,904 mg/day in girls (p<0.01), and 6.1% of boys and 1.7% of girls met the WHO recommendations for potassium intake. Major dietary sources for sodium intake were cereal and cereal products (41%), meat products (16%), and milk and milk products (11%); and for potassium intake, main sources were milk and milk products (21%), meat products (17%), and vegetables (15%).

Conclusions: Adolescents had a high-sodium and low-potassium diet, well above the WHO recommendations. Health promotion interventions are needed in order to decrease sodium and increase potassium intake.

Keywords: urinary sodium; urinary potassium; intake; adolescents; salt

(Published: 1 April 2016)

Citation: Food & Nutrition Research 2016, 60: 29442 -


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How to Cite
Gonçalves C, Abreu S, Padrão P, Pinho O, Graça P, Breda J, Santos R, Moreira P. Sodium and potassium urinary excretion and dietary intake: a cross-sectional analysis in adolescents. fnr [Internet]. 2016Apr.11 [cited 2020May27];600. Available from:
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