Children eating unhealthy amount of salt, study says

Children eating unhealthy amount of salt, study says




More than a third of children's salt consumption is from bread and cereals, researchers have found. Analysis of young people's diets found that they eat an "unhealthy amount of salt on a daily basis". The research found 36% of this salt comes from cereal and bread-based products. The study, published in the American Heart Association journal Hypertension, found that many children exceed the recommended intake of salt on a daily basis. Those aged five and six are eating 0.75g more than the recommended daily amount and teenagers are exceeding the limit by about 1.5g, the research suggests.


The researchers examined 24-hour urine samples of 340 children from the capital as well as food diaries and photographs of meals. They found that on average five- and six-year-olds consumed 3.75g of salt daily – exceeding the suggested amount of 3g for this age group. Meanwhile, those aged 13 to 17 were consuming 7.55g of salt every day – 1.5g above the suggested NHS guidance, which suggests those aged 11 and over should eat no more than 6g every day. Boys tended to have a higher salt intake than girls, the authors said.


In addition to the 36% of salt, meat products provided 19% of salt intake while dairy products accounted for 11%, they added.


They cautioned that excessive salt consumption is one of the main contributing factors to high blood pressure, which in turn can lead to heart disease and stroke. "We know that salt starts increasing the risk of high blood pressure in children starting at age one," said Graham MacGregor, author of the study and professor of cardiovascular medicine at the Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine at Queen Mary University of London. "There needs to be a much greater effort to reduce salt in foods. "While salt intake in children wasn't measured prior to the UK's salt-reduction campaign, the salt intake in adults has fallen 15% in six years. So that policy is working, but it's not working fast enough. "It is very difficult for parents to reduce children's salt intake unless they avoid packaged and restaurant foods and prepare each meal from scratch using fresh, natural ingredients."


By the Guardian,


The Guardian, Tuesday 11th of March 2014.


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