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American Heart Association Journal Report: Reducing Kids' Salt Intake May Lower Soft Drink Consumption, Reducing Obesity, High Blood Pressure and Later Health Risks
Date:2/20/2008

DALLAS, Feb. 20 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --- Children who eat less salt drink fewer sugar-sweetened soft drinks and may significantly lower their risks for obesity, elevated blood pressure and later-in-life heart attack and stroke, researchers reported in the print and online issue of Hypertension: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Previous studies have shown that dietary salt intake increases fluid consumption in adults. But researchers at St. George's University of London, England, are the first to examine whether the same is true in children.

"Sugar-sweetened soft drinks are a significant source of calorie intake in children," said Feng J. He, M.D., lead author of the study. "It has been shown that sugar-sweetened soft drink consumption is related to obesity in young people. However, it is unclear whether there is a link between salt intake and sugar-sweetened soft drink consumption."

Dr. He and colleagues analyzed data from the National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS) in Great Britain, conducted in 1997 in a nationally representative sample of more than 2,000 people between 4 and 18 years old. Among the participants, more than 1,600 boys and girls had salt and fluid intake recorded using a seven-day dietary record, with all food and drink consumed weighed on digital scales.

"We found that children eating a lower-salt diet drank less fluid," said Dr. He, a cardiovascular research fellow at St. George's. "From our research, we estimated that 1 gram of salt cut from their daily diet would reduce fluid intake by 100 grams per day."

The researchers also found that children eating a lower-salt diet drank fewer sugar-sweetened soft drinks. From their research, they predicted that reducing salt intake by 1 gram each day would reduce sugar-sweetened soft drink consumption by 27 grams per day, after considering other factors such as age, gender, body weight and level of physical activity.

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SOURCE American Heart Association
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