Warning: Chances Are, Your Kid Eats Too Much Sodium

Most people are fully aware that high-sodium diets can lead to increased blood pressure in adults. But did you know that children also suffer similar health issues when they eat too much salt? And unfortunately, most do. According to a recent study, nine out of 10 American kids consume more sodium than they should – about 1/3 more than the recommended amount. And the really bad news is that high blood pressure and heart disease currently affect one in six U.S. children as a result of their dietary habits, setting the stage for more serious health problems later in life.

You might think confiscating the salt shaker will do the trick, but that’s not enough. The biggest problem is the sodium that’s already in packaged and prepared foods. Research shows 43 percent of the sodium consumed by children comes from the 10 foods they eat the most. These are:

  • Pizza
  • Bread and rolls
  • Cold cuts and cured meats
  • Savory snacks
  • Sandwiches
  • Cheese
  • Chicken patties and nuggets
  • Pasta dishes
  • Mexican dishes
  • Soups

Every single one of these items can contain a surprisingly large amount of sodium. And because children eat a lot of these foods, the salt intake quickly adds up.

Now that you know, help your kids establish healthier dietary habits by teaching them to read nutrition labels and request nutrition information at restaurants. And adults should remember to practice these healthy habits, too! Cooking nutritious meals for (or with) your child is a great way to monitor their sodium intake. If you need culinary inspiration, visit the recipes section on our site.

This blog post is part of #MIKidsCan, an initiative created by Blue Cross Blue Shield Michigan to promote positive change in the health and well-being of Michigan youth. To learn more about the campaign, visit http://www.ahealthiermichigan.org/mikidscan

Photo credit: ClarkandCompany

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