Children are eating as much salt as adults, according to a new report, and experts are concerned.
Most adults consume too much sodium and that can have serious health implications. Too much salt in a person’s diet can raise your blood pressure; high blood pressure increases the risk for heart disease and stroke.
In this new study, published Monday in the journal Pediatrics, researchers found that if a child is overweight and eats as much salt as an adult, the risk for high blood pressure goes up dramatically.
So why do heavier children appear to be at higher risk for hypertension or high blood pressure? Scientists can’t explain it fully, but they’ve found that overweight kids tend to be more sensitive to salt’s effect on the body.
Let’s take a quick look at our anatomy to get a better picture. When we eat more salt, we retain more water. Part of the water ends up in our blood stream, increasing the volume of blood and causing the heart to pump harder to move the extra blood. Blood pressure increases as a result.
Over time, the increase in pressure causes wear and tear on the walls of our blood vessels, making it easier for fat-like substances to build up and narrow the vessel. The accumulation of those substances may lead to a heart attack or stroke.
Parents can reduce their child’s chances of developing high blood pressure. Most of the sodium we eat comes from packaged, processed or restaurant food.
Whether you eat out or eat at home, make sure fresh fruits and vegetables are the largest part of your child’s meal.