Children, Salt, and High Blood Pressure
It is a common problem—9 of 10 us eat too much salt, including our kids. On average children and adolescent consume about 3400mg of sodium each day, about the same amount as adults1. Many ask whether eating too much salt really matters to our children’s health. Can young children really have high blood pressure? The answer is YES, TOO MUCH SALT IS A CONCERN FOR CHILDREN!
In a 2012 study published in Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, researchers and physicians noted that newborns need salt, but among children and adolescents, eating too much sodium increased the risk of pre-high blood pressure2. Moreover, these children and adolescents were at higher risk of developing hypertension and heart disease as adults. Yes, too much salt matters to our children’s health.
In a more recent study, the research demonstrated that high blood pressure was most common among overweight children that ate too much salt1. However, the research showed that too much salt also increased the risk of high blood pressure for children who were of normal weight. These scientists concluded that we should take efforts to help ALL children lower the salt that they eat.
Remember, our children’s bodies need salt to work properly but most are eating too much salt. We can help our children by serving more frozen veggies and cutting back on pizzas, breads, cold cuts, and boxed meals.
The ONIE Project
- Lava, S. A. G., Bianchetti, M. G., & Simonetti, G. D. (2015). Salt intake in children and its consequences on blood pressure. Pediatric Nephrology, 30(9), 1389-1396. doi: 10.1007/s00467-014-2931-3
- Yang, Q., Zhang, Z., Kuklina, E. V., Fang, J., Ayala, C., Hong, Y., . . . Merritt, R. (2012). Sodium Intake and Blood Pressure Among US Children and Adolescents. Pediatrics, 130(4), 611-619. doi: 10.1542/peds.2011-3870