More than 90% of U.S. children, ages 6-18, eat more sodium than recommended, putting them at risk for developing hypertension and heart disease later in life, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Vital Signs report. Using data from the CDCs 2009-2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, researchers determined about 43% of sodium eaten by children comes from foods such as pizza, bread and rolls, cold cuts, chicken patties/nuggets/tenders, pasta dishes, soups and other foods, according to a news release.
Too many children are consuming way too much sodium, and the result will be risks of high blood pressure and heart disease in the future, said CDC Director Tom Frieden, MD, MPH. Most sodium is from processed and restaurant food, not the salt shaker. Reducing sodium intake will help our children avoid tragic and expensive health problems.
Key findings in the Vital Signs report include U.S. children ages 6-18 eat an average of about 3,300 mg of sodium per day before salt is added at the table. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that children eat less than 2,300 mg per day total.
Its an important topic because one in six children already has raised blood pressure which can result in high blood pressure in adulthood, and as we know [is] a major cause of heart disease and stroke, Ileana Arias, PhD, the CDC principal director, said in a Sept. 9 CDC telebriefing. This is incredibly concerning to us. The statistics are more dramatic when we focus on just teens who are consuming about 3,700 mg of sodium per day.
Also, about 65% of the sodium comes from store-bought foods 13% from fast food and pizza restaurant foods and 9% from school cafeteria foods, according to the release. Additionally, we know that research shows that the taste for salt is established through diet at a young age, so not only are our children eating too much sodium, theyre establishing a high threshold or taste for salt beyond childhood, Arias said in the telebriefing. It will take a collective effort [between] parents and caregivers, schools, communities and places that sell, make or serve food to really make a difference and ensure healthier options.
To help reduce the amount of sodium children are consuming daily, parents, caregivers and schools are encouraged to ensure more low-sodium options are available and that foods meet or exceed the United States Department of Agricultures Nutrition Standards for foods served during the school day.
See the full report: http://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns