AHA: Kids and Teens Must Limit Salt Intake

Sodium intake in children and teens has reached an alarmingly high rate, according to the American Heart Association.

A new study, conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and published in the journal Pediatrics, found that kids between 8 and 18 consumed an average of 3,387 milligrams of sodium a day, which is the same amount consumed by adults and over double the 1,500 milligrams recommended by the AHA.

For overweight and obese kids, this means a 74 percent increased risk of high blood pressure for every 1,000 milligrams of increased sodium a day. The increase is only 6 percent in children with healthy weights.

“High blood pressure, once viewed as an adult illness is now affecting more young people because of high sodium diets and increasing obesity,” said Nancy Brown, CEO of the American Heart Association in a statement, She said progress is slow in school’s new nutrition standards and that sodium reduction must become a national priority.

The AHA wants the U.S. Department of Agriculture to apply new sodium limits and has asked the Food and Drug Administration to decrease the daily value of sodium to 1,500 milligrams and day and to set mandatory limits on sodium content in foods.