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Report Reveals Kids Have Too Much Salt In Their Diet

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A study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that American children’s high salt intake puts them at risk for heart disease in later life, UPI reports.

Researchers found that nearly 90% of American kids consume more than the recommended amount of sodium for their age. Sodium-heavy snacks, breads, cold cuts, soup and pizza are among the major culprits.

Zerleen Quader – lead author of the report and data analyst in CDC’s Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention – states,

We already know that nearly all Americans regardless of age, race and gender consume more sodium than is recommended for a healthy diet, and the excess intake is of great concern among particular youths.

The CDC researchers analyzed 2011 to 2012 data from more than 2,100 children ages 6 to 18 nationwide. The results showed that a kid’s average salt intake was 3,256 mg a day (not including the salt on the table). The recommended salt intake for children varies from 1,900 mg to 2,300 mg a day, depending on age.

According to the report, dinner accounts for 39% and lunch for 31% of children’s salt intake. Breakfast and snacks provide roughly 15% of salt intake. Girls had much lower salt intake than boys at 2,919 mg daily versus 3,584 mg daily.

The research also reveals that ten types of food account for almost half of the children’s salt intake: pizza, sandwiches (including burgers), breads, cold cuts, soups, savory snacks, Mexican mixed dishes, cheese, plain milk and poultry.

Quader says, “Sodium reduction is considered a key public health strategy to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases nationwide, and this study is the latest in ongoing CDC efforts to monitor U.S. sodium intake.”

Quader suggests that the best way to reduce salt intake in the family is to check the Nutrition Facts panel on food items and look for “no-salt-added” or “lower-sodium” versions. Foods that contain less than 140 mg per serving are considered low in sodium.

The results of the research were published on November 3 in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

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