Family Focus: Less Sodium for All
Your child probably loves pizza. And how about hot dogs, lunch meat, or cheese? In addition to being many children's favorites, these foods are high in sodium. They contribute to a startling fact: Many children eat as much sodium as adults in the U.S. That's setting the table for serious concerns about children's future heart health.
A case against sodium
Sodium is a nutrient that your body needs to function properly. But having too much of it can raise blood pressure, even in children. Prolonged high blood pressure gradually damages the body. It can eventually lead to heart disease and stroke. Children who eat lots of sodium-filled foods may be those most likely to face such health problems in adulthood.
The average daily sodium intake for American kids is 3,387 mg, according to a recent study in the journal Pediatrics. That amount equals what most adults consume in a day. What's more, it's well above what experts recommend: a daily 2,300-mg limit-about 1 teaspoon of table salt.
Where's all that sodium coming from? Don't simply blame your saltshaker. The main sources of sodium in your family's diet likely stem from processed foods and restaurant meals. These are the top 10 types of sodium-filled foods that kids eat:
Even food products marketed to babies and toddlers aren't exempt from excess sodium. A recent study found that many of them are laden with it.
Click here to learn more about how the condition can affect children.
A stop to the sodium crave
If your family eats a lot of sodium-rich foods, your palates may prefer salty options. Fortunately, you can change those taste buds by gradually lowering the amount of sodium in your family's diet. At the same time, you'll help protect your children-and your whole family-from high blood pressure.
Here are tips to help you curb your family's sodium intake:
Always talk with your health care provider to find out more information.
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