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Salt: A Child’s Indulgence That Should Be Checked

Salt: A Child’s Indulgence That Should Be Checked

When we worry about what our children eat, we most often involve ourselves with concerns over sugar and fat. We read labels on processed foods and frown upon items that are rife with loads of sugar or enough fat to seriously endanger a 55-year-old, but salt, well we don’t think about it enough.

Kids love salty snacks about as much as they love sugar-frosted items, but parents seem to allow this indulgence far more often and comfortably than we would a fistful of candy or fatty foods. Now comes word from the journal Pediatrics that kids are consuming way more salt than we ever thought and the results can be detrimental. According to a new study from researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, children in the United States (between age 8 and 18) are consuming an average of 3,387 mg of sodium per day, which is about the same as most adults. However, you need to factor in that children are (on average) far smaller than most adults and this amount far exceeds the 2,300 mg limit recommended by the federal dietary guidelines.

As we adults may already know, excess salt intake can likely lead to struggles with high blood pressure, and children are no exception. The link between high blood pressure and salt intake among children was strongest among those who were overweight. “We found among overweight and obese participants (in the study), that for every 1,000 mg of sodium they consumed, their blood pressure response was seven times greater (compared to healthy-weight children),” said Janelle Gunn, a public health analyst with the CDC.

But to be clear, these children are not likely getting these excessive doses of sodium by pouring on the salt. More than likely, experts say all of this sodium is coming from a proliferation of processed foods that are not all that perceptibly salty, like bread, crackers, and dipping sauce.

Do you feel you are vigilant about your child/children’s salt intake? If so, what do you do to keep things on an acceptable and safe level?

What’s Your Salt IQ?
The Truth About Salt
Salt: A Sneaky Culprit of Disease and Stroke

Read more: Blogs, Caregiving, Children, Diet & Nutrition, Eating for Health, Family, Food, General Health, Health, Healthy Schools, High Blood Pressure, Parenting at the Crossroads, , , , ,

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Eric Steinman

Eric Steinman is a freelance writer based in Rhinebeck, NY. He regularly writes about food, music, art, architecture, and culture and is a regular contributor to Bon Appétit among other publications.


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4:14PM PDT on May 18, 2015

Thank you Eric.

4:39AM PDT on Oct 2, 2013

Thanks for posting.

4:40AM PST on Feb 21, 2013

Today's children are getting fatter at an early age and need to be taught to eat right before things like this happen.

2:49AM PST on Feb 2, 2013


11:20AM PST on Jan 12, 2013

i refuse to have salt in the house. there's enough salt in processed foods, so why have more? salt+children+disaster waiting to happen

11:47AM PST on Nov 23, 2012

Thanks for sharing.

12:56AM PDT on Oct 27, 2012

Good info, and we'll see what people do with it...

1:09PM PDT on Oct 24, 2012

I know there are too many food products that people and their children overindulge in, but I still feel that people really can't be the food police for other people. Big Brother vs. Free Will.

7:08AM PDT on Oct 24, 2012

Processed foods ... bad, very very bad.

2:06PM PDT on Sep 24, 2012

Great post!!

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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