To determine the association among dietary salt, fluid, and sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) consumption and weight status in a nationally representative sample of Australian children aged 2 to 16 years.


Cross-sectional data from the 2007 Australian National Children’s Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey. Consumption of dietary salt, fluid, and SSB was determined via two 24-hour dietary recalls. BMI was calculated from recorded height and weight. Regression analysis was used to assess the association between salt, fluid, SSB consumption, and weight status.


Of the 4283 participants, 62% reported consuming SSBs. Older children and those of lower socioeconomic status (SES) were more likely to consume SSBs (both Ps < .001). Dietary salt intake was positively associated with fluid consumption (r = 0.42, P < .001); each additional 1 g/d of salt was associated with a 46 g/d greater intake of fluid, adjusted for age, gender, BMI, and SES (P < .001). In those consuming SSBs (n = 2571), salt intake was positively associated with SSB consumption (r = 0.35, P < .001); each additional 1 g/d of salt was associated with a 17 g/d greater intake of SSB, adjusted for age, gender, SES, and energy (P < .001). Participants who consumed more than 1 serving (≥250 g) of SSB were 26% more likely to be overweight/obese (odds ratio: 1.26, 95% confidence interval: 1.03–1.53).


Dietary salt intake predicted total fluid consumption and SSB consumption within consumers of SSBs. Furthermore, SSB consumption was associated with obesity risk. In addition to the known benefits of lowering blood pressure, salt reduction strategies may be useful in childhood obesity prevention efforts.

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