Federal health officials have found that 90 percent of American kids eat too much salt. Most of the salt is from processed foods purchased in stores as well as fast food. The elevated sodium intake places them at higher risk for high blood pressure and heart disease later on in life.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that over 90 percent of American children ages 6 to 18 consume too much sodium on a daily basis.
An average of about 3,300 mg of sodium is eaten daily by those children who consume too much sodium even before salt is added at the table, according to data from the CDC study based on national surveys in 2009 and 2010. Dietary guidelines call for less than 2,300 mg a day, far less than the average amount consumed by children in the surveys..
The CDC noted that one in six young Americans already has elevated blood pressure – a condition closely linked to high sodium intake and obesity that can lead to heart attack and stroke.
The report found that 43 percent of the sodium came from 10 popular types of foods, including pizza, sandwiches like cheeseburgers, cold cuts and cured meats, pasta with sauce, cheese, salty snacks like potato chips, chicken nuggets and patties, tacos and burritos, bread and soup.
“Most sodium is from processed and restaurant food, not the salt shaker,” CDC Director Tom Frieden said in a statement. “Reducing sodium intake will help our children avoid tragic and expensive health problems.”
Dinner was the largest single source of sodium, accounting for nearly 40 percent of the daily intake, the study found.
The report said 65 percent of the sodium intake came from foods purchased in stores, with most of the sodium already in the products when purchased. Fast food restaurants including pizza places accounted for another 13 percent, the CDC said.