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Too Much Salt Might Harm Kids' Health: Study
Date:9/17/2012

By Serena Gordon
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Sept. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Like most adults in the United States, many American children are getting too much salt in their diets, a new study says.

And, as in adults, that extra sodium might be increasing their blood pressure levels, particularly in children above normal weight.

"Sodium intake is positively associated with systolic blood pressure and risk for pre-high blood pressure and high blood pressure among U.S. children and adolescents, and this association may be strong among those who are overweight or obese," wrote researcher Quanhe Yang and colleagues at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Systolic blood pressure is the top number in a blood-pressure readout and it represents the force with which blood comes out of the heart to the rest of the body.

Not everyone, however, is convinced that sodium is the only factor raising children's blood pressure.

"This study looked at one nutrient in isolation. There was no emphasis on the quality of the diet," said pediatric dietitian Lauren Graf, of the Children's Hospital at Montefiore in New York City. "A high intake of sodium may be a marker that there are other areas of the diet that aren't so healthy, and it may suggest low intake of other nutrients that lower blood pressure, like calcium, magnesium and potassium."

Results of the study are published in the Sept. 17 issue of the journal Pediatrics.

The latest government dietary guidelines recommend that most Americans not consume more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium daily, although most people would be fine with significantly less sodium. In general, the minimum amount of sodium recommended for most Americans is 1,500 mg daily, according to the guidelines.

Most Americans, however, get well above the recommended limit of sodium each day. High sodium intake and being overweight or obese are known factors th
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