Parents might want to forget that pinch of salt — children are still consuming too much and it could lead to serious health issues, federal officials said this week.
A study released Thursday examined sodium intake for children between 6 and 18 years old.
Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said packaged bakery and snack foods are a big problem.
CDC issues new warning about kids’ salt intake
High levels of salt are being consumed the most during dinner, but lunch isn’t much better. Researchers narrowed it down to foods such as pizza, Mexican dishes, sandwich breads, soups and savory snacks.
Salt could play a major factor in causing high blood pressure, which increases the risk of heart disease and stroke.
Evidence suggests that one in nine kids already has high blood pressure.
Doctors recommend that children consume about 2,000 milligrams of sodium a day, while the study found that the average sodium intake was around 3,200 milligrams a day, meaning that nearly 90 percent of children surveyed consumed too much.
The investigators identified some important tips for parents and caregivers looking to help cut down sodium in kids’ diets:
Feed your children a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables without added sodium or sauces.
Read nutrition labels. When shopping at the grocery store, look for the lowest-sodium options for your child’s favorite foods. An easy way to assess sodium in a food is to focus on the amount of sodium per serving. Foods with less than 140 mg per serving are considered low in sodium.
Request nutritional information at restaurants to find healthier options. Speak with your local grocer about stocking lower-sodium versions of foods.