90 percent of the children examined ingest far too much salt
For a long time, doctors have advised that people should not consume too much salt. Researchers have now found that high salt intake in children leads to an increased risk of heart disease later in life. The experts also noticed that almost 90 percent of all children examined were consuming too much salt.
The scientists from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that children often consume far too much salt. This increased consumption exposes the children to a risk of heart disease later in life. The doctors published the results of their survey in the journal "Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics".
American survey: 90 percent of children consume too much salt
Nearly 90 percent of all children in the United States consume more than the recommended amount of salt. Pizza, cold cuts, processed snacks and soups are often to blame for this, the authors explain. We already know that almost all Americans, regardless of their age, race and gender, consume more sodium than is recommended for a healthy diet, explains author Zerleen Quader from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Doctors analyze data from more than 2,100 children
For their investigation, the researchers analyzed the data of more than 2,100 children aged between six and 18 years. The average salt intake of these children was 3,256 milligrams (mg) per day. The authors did not take into account the salt that is added to the food at the table. The recommended salt intake for children varies from 1,900 mg to 2,300 mg per day, depending on the age of the children.
Boys eat more salt than girls
The average level of salt intake was particularly high in adolescents aged 14 to 18 years (3,565 mg daily). Girls had a much lower daily intake than boys. Girls consume 2,919 mg per day, while boys consumed 3,584 mg per day.
At what meals do children eat a lot of salt?
Dinner accounted for 39 percent of children's salt intake. The lunch was responsible for 31 percent of the salt intake, explain the doctors. About 15 percent of the salt was ingested through breakfast and snacks.
What foods do children consume such high amounts of salt?
58 percent of the daily salt intake in children occurs through foods that were bought in grocery stores, the scientists explain. Fast food and pizza are responsible for 16 percent, while school cafeteria contains about ten percent of the daily salt intake.
High salt intake increases the risk of heart disease
Salt can raise blood pressure in some people. Previous research has shown that one in nine children between the ages of 8 and 17 already have high blood pressure. This increases the risk of high blood pressure as an adult in later life. High blood pressure (hypertension) then increases the risk of heart disease, doctors add.
Reduced salt intake is key strategy for reducing cardiovascular diseases
Sodium reduction is considered a key public health strategy to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Curbing salt consumption can be a real challenge for those affected, the researchers explain.
Choose healthier foods with less salt for your children
Parents should give their children a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables. Food should generally contain little sodium. Nutritional information can also be requested from restaurants, for example, to find healthier dishes that do not contain excessive amounts of salt, the authors explain. (as)