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Reducing salt in teen diet could have big impact on future health
Date:11/15/2010

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Although many food companies already have committed to lower salt content in their foods, Bibbins-Domingo said continued efforts could affect health far into the adult lives of American teenagers.

"Fast food and snack foods are major contributors to salt intake among teens, and reducing intake of these food items can have an important health benefit for teens during their teenage years and as they become young and middle age adults," she said. By lowering dietary salt by three grams per day, the researchers projected the following benefits for healthcare in the United States:

  • 44-63 percent, or 380,000-550,000, fewer hypertensive young people aged 12-24 years
  • 30-43 percent, or 2,700,000𔃁,900,000, fewer hypertensive adults aged 35-50 years
  • 7-12 percent, or 120,000-210,000, fewer incidents of coronary heart disease
  • 8-14 percent, or 36,000-64,000, fewer heart attacks
  • 5-8 percent, or 16,000-28,000, fewer strokes
  • 5-9 percent, or 69,000-120,000, fewer deaths of any cause as teenagers reach age 50

Salt consumption among Americans has risen by 50 percent since the 1970s, according to the American Heart Association, and blood pressure has risen by nearly the same amountdespite extensive evidence linking salt intake to high blood pressure and heart disease.

In addition to its independent benefits on blood pressure, reducing salt intake can enhance the effects of most anti-hypertensive (blood pressure lowering) agents and reduce complications associated with diabetes, obesity and kidney disease, the researchers added.

According to federal government data, the average teenage boy consumes more than 10 grams of salt (4,000 mg sodium) daily. Most health organizations recommend far lower targetsno more than 5.8 grams of salt per day (2,300 mg sodium) and less than 3.8 grams (1,500 mg sodium) is optimal. Each gram of salt contains 0.4 grams of sodium.


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Contact: Lauren Hammit
lauren.hammit@ucsf.edu
415-502-6397
University of California - San Francisco
Source:Eurekalert

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