How does salt consumption affect children?

How does salt consumption affect children?

Not caring for salt in children’s food can seriously harm them, how and what to do

Most minors are eating about twice as much sodium as they should.

Photo: avitalchn / Pixabay

Do not add salt to children, a saying that applies from the moment you choose and prepare their food. Most people consume too much salt. Although we are clear that including so much salt in our diet causes serious health problems, we generally only visualize adults suffering, but have you thought about how eating food with salt affects children?

Salt is the main source of sodium in food. Although it also contains other ingredients, seasonings such as sodium glutamate, commonly used in processed products.

How does excess salt affect children?

Exceeding the recommended sodium intakes causes an increase in blood pressure and increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke and myocardial infarction.

Eating too much sodium favors a higher blood pressure in children and adolescents, and the effect It is still greater if they are overweight or obese. Also, as children get more sodium, they tend to eat more calories.

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Children on high sodium diets are almost 40 percent more likely to have high blood pressure than children on low sodium diets, explains the American Heart Association.

If they have high blood pressure since they were little a higher probability of early development of heart disease and with it risk of premature death.

Foods that are adding more sodium to children’s diets

According to the AHA, most of the sodium children eat is already in the foods they get from supermarkets, restaurants, school cafeterias, and not in the salt shaker.

The foods that are filling sodium to children between 6 and 18 years are:

  • Pizza
  • Bread and rolls
  • Sausages
  • Salty snacks (such as potato chips and pretzels)
  • Sandwiches (including burgers)
  • cheese
  • Chicken empanadas and mixed pasta dishes (such as spaghetti with sauce)
  • Mexican mixed dishes (such as burritos and tacos)
  • Tin and instant soups.

How much salt is too much?

The World Health Organization suggests a sodium consumption less than 2 grams daily. A teaspoon of salt contains 2.3 g of sodium. For children from 2 to 15 years old, the WHO recommends reducing the amount.

Every day people consume between 9 and 12 grams of salt, when what we should be ingesting is a maximum of 5 grams of salt per dayless than a teaspoon.

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90% of children eat too much sodium

90% of children eat too much sodium. On average, children between 2 and 19 years of age eat more than 3.1 g of sodium per day, approximately the double of the amount recommended by the AHA.

The WHO notes that all the salt consumed must be iodized, that is, with iodine, which is essential for the healthy development of the young child as well as for optimizing mental functions in general.

How to reduce the consumption of salt in children?

Educate taste from a young age. The taste preferences for salt are determined by what we eat since we were little.

Children will not like foods with too much salt if they are given foods with too little salt from an early age.

If they are no longer babies or so young, you can still adjust your taste, gradually reducing the sodium in their food so they don’t notice the difference.

When you buy purées, tuna, legumes and other foods already prepared in the supermarket, choose the versions with less sodium.

Before going out to eat, look up nutritional information about foods online, and choose the healthiest options. Many restaurant chains include this information for each of their products on their pages and applications.

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Caring for children to get less sodium can help prevent heart disease in the future, especially in overweight and obese children.


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