Maybe your kids can eat something other than pizza for one day a week?
Over 90 percent of children in America are eating more sodium than they should, which could lead to high blood pressure and heart disease as adults, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CDC looked at the data about kids aged from 6 to 18 years old from the agency's 2009-2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, and found that they ate on average of 3,300 mg of sodium per day, which is 1,000 mg over the recommendation of 2,300 mg of sodium per day that was offered in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
The survey indicated that about 43 percent of the sodium comes from the 10 things kids eat most often: pizza, bread and rolls, cold cuts/cured meats, savory snacks, pasta mixed dishes, Mexican mixed dishes, chicken patties/nuggets/tenders, sandwiches, cheese or soups.
"Too many children are consuming way too much sodium, and the result will be risks of high blood pressure and heart disease in the future," said CDC Director Tom Frieden, in a statement. "Most sodium is from processed and restaurant food, not the salt shaker. Reducing sodium intake will help our children avoid tragic and expensive health problems."
The report also found that most sodium is already in the food and not added via table salt. About 65 percent comes from store foods, 13 percent from fast food restaurants or pizzerias, and 9 percent from school cafeterias.
The issue is that children eating a lot of sodium and salt may begin to develop health issues such as high-blood pressure or heart disease. And then they may continue such high-sodium eating habits during their adulthood, increasing the chances of the related health problems even more.
To combat the increasing sodium in children's diets, the CDC also posted online an infographic with suggestions on to improve children's diets. Recommendations include: Read nutrition labels to compare products and choose the lowest sodium option; use more naturally low sodium foods, like fruits and vegetables without added salt, for cooking at home; and support healthy sodium standards for snacks and meals in the cafeteria and school events.
The CDC report "Reducing Sodium in Children's Diets" can be found in latest issue of CDC Vital Signs.
Photo: Nick Dugan Pogue