Friday, March 22nd, 2013
The foods that many American babies and toddlers are eating contains too much sodium, according to new information compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and presented to a scientific meeting of the American Heart Association. Consuming too much sodium can lead to elevated risk of heart disease and high blood pressure, among other things. From a release announcing the findings:
In the first study to look at the sodium content in U.S. baby and toddler foods, researchers compared the sodium content per serving of 1,115 products for babies and toddlers using data on major and private label brands compiled by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Baby food was categorized as intended for children less than one year old, and toddler food was categorized as intended for children between the ages of one and three.
A product was defined as high in sodium if it had more than 210 mg of sodium per serving. Toddler meals had significantly higher amounts of sodium than baby meals, and the amount of sodium in some of the toddler meals was as high as 630 mg per serving – about 40 percent of the 1,500 mg daily limit recommended by the American Heart Association. The foods with the most sodium were savory snacks and meals for toddlers.
“Our concern is the possible long-term health risks of introducing high levels of sodium in a child’s diet, because high blood pressure, as well as a preference for salty foods may develop early in life. The less sodium in an infant’s or toddler’s diet, the less he or she may want it when older,” said Joyce Maalouf, M.S., M.P.H., ORISE, lead author and Fellow at the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia.
The American Heart Association recommends limiting sodium consumption to less than 1500 mg a day. Sodium is in regular table salt and many foods, including most prepared meals and snacks for toddlers.
The CDC listed the following 10 foods as the biggest sodium culprits affecting Americans from ages 2-19:
- Bread and rolls
- Cold cuts and processed meats
- Savory snacks
- Mixed pasta dishes
- Frankfurters and sausages
Image: Salt, via Shutterstock
Tuesday, September 18th, 2012
U.S. children are consuming as much salt on average as American adults, and as a result face an elevated risk of health problems including elevated blood pressure and even heart disease, according to a new report published in the journal Pediatrics. CNN.com has more:
Health experts recommend that most people eat no more than 2,300 milligrams of salt a day, the equivalent of 1 teaspoon. But children and adults alike are consuming, on average, about 3,400 milligrams daily, according to the study.
The study authors found that when young people increased their daily salt levels by 1,000 milligrams, the risk for high blood pressure increased 74% for overweight or obese youngsters, but only 6% for kids in the normal weight range. The researchers looked at more than 6,200 young people, ages 8 to 18. More than a third were overweight or obese and 15% had elevated or high blood pressure.
Most of the salt we consume is already in the foods we eat, not what we add at the dinner table.
Breads and rolls, cold cuts, pizza, fresh and processed poultry, soups, sandwiches, cheese, pasta dishes, meat dishes and snacks are the top 10 food sources that account for 44% of sodium consumed, according a report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in February.
“If you have high blood pressure in childhood, it’s likely that the effects will last into adulthood. Increased blood pressure is one of the most significant risk factors for cardiovascular disease (heart disease),” explains lead study author Quanhe Yang, who works with the Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Image: Salt shaker, via Shutterstock
Wednesday, December 21st, 2011
Overexposure to salty foods during infancy is a major factor in Americans’ unhealthy relationship with sodium, a new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has found. Parents who fed their babies starchy table foods including breakfast cereals and crackers that contain added salt are more likely to have preschoolers who gravitate toward salty foods. The New York Times reports:
“Our data would suggest that if one wants to reduce salt in the population as a whole, then it’s important to start early because infants and children are very vulnerable,” said Dr. Gary Beauchamp, an author of the paper and behavioral biologist at the Monell Center in Philadelphia, a nonprofit institute that carries out research on taste and smell. “Exactly what constitutes too much salt is somewhat of a matter of controversy. But for kids over the age of 1 and 2, what they’re consuming now is well beyond what is recommended by every major health organization in the world.”
Reducing the amount of salt Americans consume has been a focus of health authorities for some time. Some experts say that many adults eat twice as much salt as the recommended daily allowance calls for, and some studies have found that cutting back on salt intake could save more than 100,000 lives in the United States every year from illnesses like heart attack and stroke.
Researchers add that it’s never too late to adjust a person’s craving for salt. “When people are put on a lower sodium diet, they shift their preference downward and begin to like less salty things,” Dr. Beauchamp told The Times.
Image: Salt shaker, via Shutterstock