American Kids Are Still Eating Too Much Sodium

by Jo-Ann Heslin, MA, RD, CDN on June 15, 2017 · 1 comment

Close to 90% of all kids 6 and older eat too much sodium each day and 1 in 9 children between the ages of 8 and 17 have blood pressures above the normal range for their age, sex and height. This increases their risk for high blood pressure as adults.

The Institute of Medicine recommends no more than 1,900 milligrams of sodium for children 4 to 8 years old, 2,200 for kids 9 to 13, and 2,300 for those 14 and older. The latest National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found that children of all ages had intakes of sodium above 3,000 milligrams daily. High school aged kids ate the most, with boys getting more sodium than girls. The top ten foods that contributed the most sodium were: pizza; Mexican mixed dishes; sandwiches; breads, rolls and buns: cold cuts and cured meats; soups; chips, popcorn and pretzels; cheese; milk; and chicken and other poultry.

Most of the sodium in children’s diets comes from processed food and not salt added at the table. This points to the importance of lowering sodium values in foods throughout the nation’s food supply because what children eat at an early age often determines food choices later in life.



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