Earlier today, I ate about 20 tortilla chips with some cheese dip. I didn’t look at the nutritional facts, but I’m sure a lot of salt was included. But that seems to normal for us these days. A study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics states that children and adults alike are consuming, on average, about 3,400 milligrams of sodium per day. The recommended limit is no more than 2,300 milligrams per day.
The study puts a lot of focus on children’s sodium intake and how if they are overweight and consume as much sodium as adults, their risk for high blood pressure “goes up dramatically.”
“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.”
Scientists have found that overweight children are more sensitive to salt’s effects on the body than children in the normal weight range.
Of course, this means parents need to be more diligent with what their kids eat. Cut down on the packaged, processed foods. Cut down on the meal portions. Exercise more often. Eat your fruits and vegetables.
We’ve heard it all before. We know gorging on breads and salted meats isn’t good for you, no matter your age or weight. Yes, it can have even more dramatic effects on children who are already overweight, but these are studies that everyone should heed.
But will we? This is cynical, but it never seems like the advice gets through to us — Americans — until the damage becomes more evident. We may understand that what the study states is correct. We know most of us must do a better job of managing what and how much we eat. We know it.
But, damn, that cheeseburger is cheap, and it sure tastes good!