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Sodium The New Killer Of Children

Updated on August 31, 2016

Will you pour an entire container of table salt in your child’s lunch? As per the Center of Disease Control and Prevention, this is equivalent to what is happening in foods that American children eat. It is not enough that single mothers must monitor their children’s sugar intake, due to a new health report of the high level of sodium consumption by children, they must now pay close attention to the amount of salt in their children’s diet.

A Study

Experts at the Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) aver that "American children are consuming too much sodium". This high intake of salt places children, 6-18 years, at high health risk. This risk will manifest in their adult age in the form of high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. The CDC asserts that 90% of these children are just as likely to experience these health issues as they are to attend college or trade school.

Too Much Salt

Old wife's tale support the notion that children should be able to eat any type of food because it is a necessity for their growth and expansion. The researchers at CDC counters with the information that today, the foods that children are allowed to eat are too high in sodium and as such should be scrutinized. Your child's favorite processed or restaurant food and snacks have too much sodium. The CDC reports that as children consumes their favorite foods they eat appropriately 3,300 milligrams of salt per day. This amount is around 1,000 milligrams more than the recommendation per a healthy daily diet. A normal intake of sodium for children is any amount below 2,300 milligrams per day. Children within these guideline will avoid major health issues. A caveat for parents who already monitor their children's sodium intake, all schools are working toward state and federal guidelines concerning sodium levels in food. Also, the Institute of Medicine is working on setting a reduced standard of sodium in processed foods.

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CC by Flickr | Source

As per the CDC below is a list of foods high in sodium that children frequently eat:

Pizza Bread and rolls

Cold cuts and Cured meats

Savory snacks Sandwiches

Cheese Chicken patties and nuggets

Pasta mixed dishes Mexican mixed dishes


Reducing Salt

To eliminate the high intake of sodium by children, experts of the CDC suggest some quick fixes. The first is to reduce the use of table salt when cooking. Instead of seasons that contain salt, they suggest the use of herbal seasonings with thymes, pepper other spices. Second, replace processed snacks and foods with fresh fruits and vegetables. A child can never eat too much fruits and vegetable, especially when it is presented in variety. Next, as you go up and down the grocery store aisles, before putting any item in the basket check for its level of sodium. Of course, it is a good idea to shop at stores that sell a variety of low sodium foods. Finally, when you eat at restaurants select from the menu, foods low in salt. If unsure of the salt content ask your waiter.

How many of the above favorite foods do you feed your child?

See results
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CC by Flickr | Source

Similar to sugar, salt is a learned appetite and can start at a very young age therefore, experts propose that intake of salt be screen just as closely as sugar, keeping in mind that teens on average consume more of both. The graph below reveals the amount of sodium consumed by age groups. This statistic is from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The dietary intake per child per day should be below 2,300mg.

Age group
Sodium intake
6-10 years
11-13 years
14-18 years

The CDC experts observe that too much salt will have different impact on different people. In particular, they stress that African-American children, as well as children suffering with diabetes, kidney disease and hypertension should cut back tremendously on their salt intake. These children’s health are more inclined to be negatively impacted by oversights in salt consumption.

CDC experts were able to pinpoint the percentage of sodium per meal and food products.

Store foods
Fast food and restaurant foods
Cafeteria foods
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CC by Flickr | Source

To further assist in adjusting your child’s diet experts disclosed the following guidelines for the recommended amount of sodium per meal.

Sodium amount
Morning snack
Afternoon snack

When mothers follow the above regulations, their children’s diet will fall way below the recommended daily intake which means that their children will no longer be at risk for heart disease.

The federal government is working to do its share in reducing the amount of sodium intake by children. The government is committed to reducing sodium in grocery store foods by about 50%. Government Officials are working with state and local communities to make available a variety of low salt foods. For parents who feel overwhelmed by the demands on creating low sodium meals visit the Million Hearts Initiative’s website at for recipes and much more.

The statistic in high sodium in a child’s favorite food is alarming. As per the CDC 9 out of every 10 children ingest too much sodium. Within that statistics 1 in every 6 children under the age of 17 has higher than normal blood pressure. Medical studies support that high blood pressure ultimately leads to “heart disease and stroke” in adulthood. Therefore, sodium is slowing becoming the new killer of children. What changes do you plan on making to prevent this killer from visiting your home?


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