Magazine article The Nation's Health

CDC: Majority of US Children Consuming Too Much Sodium

Magazine article The Nation's Health

CDC: Majority of US Children Consuming Too Much Sodium

Article excerpt

American children are eating much more salt than is recommended, which could put them at risk for developing life-threatening health conditions in later years, according to a new Vital Signs report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The report, which was published Sept. 12 in CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, finds that more than 90 percent of children ages 6-18 are eating higher-than-recommended levels of sodium, a contributor to high blood pressure and heart disease later in life. Examining data from the 2009-10 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, CDC researchers found that about 43 percent of the sodium that kids consume comes from some of the foods they eat most often: pizza, bread and rolls, cold cuts and cured meats, savory snacks, sandwiches, cheese, chicken patties, chicken nuggets and tenders, pasta dishes, Mexican dishes and soups.

On average, U.S. kids are eating about 3,300 milligrams of sodium each day before adding any extra salt, which is about 1,000 milligrams more than recommended. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that children eat less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day.

"Too many children are consuming 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. …

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