When it comes to children and their health, there have been many national discussions about the high amounts of sugar kids are ingesting and how it leads to problems of obesity and other potential ailments.
But not much focus has been given to children and their daily intake of salt, which experts say is as problematic as sugar for younger people.
According to newly released data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), children in the U.S. are consuming 1,000 milligrams of salt over the suggested daily amount. American adults happen to be in the exact same category.
From 2003 to 2008 the CDC studied 6,200 children between the ages of 8 and 18, and asked them to document what they ate each day. The researchers found about 15 percent of the children either already had high blood pressure or were in danger of becoming high blood pressure patients.
The children who were overweight in the test had a 300% greater chance of developing hypertension due to their heavy salt intake.
Some health experts believe that more focus needs to be placed on kids consuming high amounts of salt, as many food brands, companies, and children’s eateries have been making foods and beverages with less sugar but with the same amounts of sodium.
Same intake level as adults
The researchers also said that children’s salt intake is equal to what adults ingest, and ultimately it will cause the same health ailments.
“Many youth consume not only the same amount of salt as adults, but they also consume the same amount of calories as adults, so it would stand to reason the two groups consume the same types and amounts of processed foods,” said Kurt Eggerbrecht, a public health officer in Wisconsin in a published interview.
“They [kids] also have increased risk of impaired glucose tolerance, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Just like obese adults they can experience breathing problems, such as sleep apnea, and asthma. Even at a young age there can be joint problems and musculoskeletal discomfort. Over consumption and lack of exercise is a growing problem that has occurred within the past 30 years for a variety of reasons,” he said.
If you think about it, salty snacks are just as ubiquitous as sugary snacks, maybe even more so.
Chips & pretzels
As schools, communities and entire cities have either cut down or banned certain sugary products, salty foods like chips and pretzels have snuck through the back door of the public’s consciousness and remains under the radar of conversation between parents, schools and health officials.
Sadly this has caused more kids and young adults to develop high blood pressure although many times it isn’t properly diagnosed.
In a separate study, researchers found young adults have a much greater chance of not being diagnosed with high blood pressure when going for routine checkups compared to older adults.
Scientists gathered over 13,000 participants of both genders aged 18 and older to gauge if those with hypertension were correctly diagnosed over a four-year period.
Researchers discovered that 67 percent of younger adults aged 18 to 24 who were potential hypertension cases where undiagnosed, compared to 54 percent of patients aged 60 and older who didn’t receive the right medical conclusion from their doctor.
In addition, 65 percent of adults aged 25 to 31 who were borderline hypertension cases were also undiagnosed, compared to 59 percent of those aged 32 to 39, and some say the focus on young adults and their salt consumption as well as their potential of developing hypertension needs to be reexamined by those in the medical community.
“We know that once high blood pressure is diagnosed and young adults receive the treatment they need, they can achieve pretty high control rates,” said lead study author Dr. Heather Johnson of the University Of Wisconsin School Of Medicine in a statement.
For both children and younger adults Johnson says health experts have to “guide both patient and provider to make elevated blood pressure one of the key things to focus on during the visit.”
According to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Amercians, three quarters of the salt people consume come from processed foods and restaurant meals.
In addition, experts suggest that parents should have their children checked for high blood pressure every year year by the time the child is 3-years old.