Aim: To estimate the impact of overconsumption of salty and sweet foods on Body Mass Index (BMI) and Blood Pressure (BP) in children.
Patients-Methods: We studied 208 children (105 girls), aged 9.2±3.0 yr, 57 (27.4%) of normal weight, 37 (17.8%) overweight and 114 (54.8%) obese. Overconsumption of NaCl was considered >5 g/day and of free sugar >0.5 g/Kg ideal Body Weight/day. BP was measured as appropriate and BMI was estimated in all children.
Results: Children overconsuming salty and sweet foods had significantly higher BMI SDS than children consuming small amount of salty and sweet foods (2.1±1.5 vs 1.2±1.5, P<0.001 for salty foods and 2.1±1.5 vs 1.2±1.6, P=0.002 for sweet foods). Thirty-three (57.9%) of children of normal weight overconsumed salty foods versus 23 (62.2%) of overweight and 98 (86.0%) of obese (χ2=18.8, P<0.001). Thirty-five (61.4%) of children of normal weight overconsumed sweet foods versus 32 (86.5%) of overweight and 99 (86.8%) of obese (χ2=16.5, P<0.001). One hundred twenty nine children (83.8%) overconsuming salty foods had Systolic BP (SBP)>50th percentile versus 35 (64.8%) of children consuming small amounts of salty foods (χ2=8.6 P=0.006). One hundred thirty six children (81.9%) that overconsumed sweet foods had SBP>50th percentile versus 28 (66.7%) that consumed small amounts of sweet foods (χ2=4.6, P=0.036). There was no difference regarding diastolic BP (DBP) among children consuming large or small amounts of salty and sweet foods respectively. BMI SDS emerged as the most important determinant of SBP>50th percentile and DBP>50th percentile in multivariate analysis.
Conclusion: Overconsumption of salty and sweet foods is related to a relatively increased BP in children through the incremental effect on BMI SDS.