Want to keep your kids healthy? You can start by reducing their salt intake. A new government study has found a definitive link between high sodium diets and high blood pressure, particularly in kids.
Quanhe Yang, who works for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and participated in the study, says that the link was even more evident in overweight and obese children. The findings are particularly concerning because high blood pressure and obesity are huge risk factors for heart problems like stroke and heart attacks down the line.
“Our American diet clearly is very high in sodium,” Dr. Frederick Kaskel, chief of pediatric nephrology at Children’s Hospital at Montefiore in New York, who was not involved in the research said.
“Not only is the high sodium something to be avoided, but it is also indicative of an unhealthy diet.”
The findings are somewhat controversial considering other studies have been published promoting the positive health benefits of salt and revealing that not enough salt can be just as harmful as getting too much.
The study found that kids were eating as much salt as adults each day, a diet consisting of about 3,466 mg of sodium per day.
“Kids are consuming as much sodium as adults, which far exceeds the recommended amount,” Yang told Reuters Health, suggesting that parents should “read the label when you go shopping and buy the food with the lowest sodium content.”
Researchers on this study found that for every 1,000 mg of extra sodium in kids’ diets, there aas a one-point increase in their blood pressure. If a child is overweight, every 1,000 mg of sodium will increase their blood pressure by 1.5 points.
If you’re looking to cut back on sodium intake consider eating whole grain breads instead of white, cut back on fast food, choose fat-free or low-fat products, don’t add salt when you’re cooking and choose fresh fruits and vegetables.
To learn more about maintaining a low-sodium diet, go to healthfinder.gov.