High Blood Pressure in Kids Who Eat More Salt
Results of a recent study support previous findings that an increase in sodium (salt) intake among children is associated with an increased risk for high blood pressure (hypertension). Researchers report that for every 1,000 mg salt taken daily, systolic blood pressure (the upper number of a reading) could increase by 1 mm Hg overall. But among obese or overweight children the change in blood pressure could be higher.
For the study, investigators analyzed data from the 2003-2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) which involved more than 6,000 participants aged 8-18 years old. Fifteen percent of the participants had blood pressures which were too high for their age, gender and height, while 37% were either overweight or obese.
The results revealed that the children had an average consumption of 3,387 mg of sodium per day, which is comparable to adult salt consumption, and is higher than the daily recommended intake (less than 2,300 mg). They also found that children who had the highest salt intake had high blood pressure and were more likely to be overweight or obese. They calculated that the risk for high blood pressure was increased by as much as 74% among obese and overweight children and only 6% for normal weight children for every additional 1,000 mg of sodium consumed.
Previous clinical trials have shown that reducing sodium intake by a modest amount results in significantly lower blood pressure. The authors believe that by cutting salt intake, increasing physical activity and maintaining a healthy weight, children will reduce their risk for high blood pressure and other risk factors related to cardiovascular disease.
Phend, C. Sodium Intake Tied to Higher BP in Kids. MedPage Today.
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