The study looking into children's salt intake showed shocking results with 14-18 year olds consuming far higher levels than the daily recommended amount.
Everyone now knows a diet too high in salt is detrimental to health and can cause heart disease over time. It’s important to make sure children aren’t consuming too much on a daily basis and that’s what many of us make sure of. But a new study has found nearly 90 percent of American children are still ingesting more than the daily recommended amount of salt for their age.
The report undertaken by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) analyzed data from children between the ages of 6 and 18 in the years 2011-2012. Bearing in mind the average daily recommended intake for children is 1,900 mg to 2,300 mg a day depending on age, the research found that the average child was consuming 3,256 mg just through the food they eat. This didn’t included any added salt.
This was only the average amount – children around the ages of 14-18 consumed the highest amounts of nearly 3,565 mg a day.
The CDC believe the problem lies in the hidden salt contained in foods such as ready-made sauces, soups, bread and processed snacks all of which are sodium-laden. The top ten highly-salted foods consumed by kids according to the CDC are: pizza, Mexican mixed dishes, sandwiches and burgers, breads, cold cuts, soups, savory snacks, cheese, plain milk and poultry.
The difficulty at curbing salt intake for children is challenging, say the CDC, because while it’s easy to avoid processed snacks such as flavored chips, much of the food has salt added during the process of production.
“With the exception of plain milk, which naturally contains sodium, the top 10 food categories contributing to U.S. school children’s sodium intake in 2011-2012 comprised foods in which sodium is added during processing or preparation,” stated lead author Zerleen Quader.
So what should you do? Make a conscious effort to check nutrition labels on food items to get a sense of what types of food contain high salt levels and opt for the low-salt version if possible. Choose foods with less than 140 mg per serving as these are considered low in sodium.