High-salt diets contribute to an increased risk of high blood pressure in children, according to a new study from British researchers.
Diets with high levels of salt, which can raise children’s blood pressure, also may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease later in life, according to the study published in the Journal of Human Hypertension.
The study shows that children’s supermarket foods and snacks contain higher levels of salt than those recommended by health experts.
Researchers with the Department of Health looked at 2,127 British children ages 4 to 18, monitoring their daily salt intake from pre-packaged foods.
They found that the average 4-year-old consumed 4.7g of salt a day, when only 2 to 3g of salt is recommended for this age group, the Journal of Human Hypertension reports.
The researchers found that each extra gram of salt eaten raises blood pressure significantly, increasing the risk of heart disease and stroke during adulthood. The children who ingested the highest amounts of salt also had the highest levels of blood pressure.
Excessive salt consumption has also been linked to conditions such as asthma, osteoporosis, and stomach cancer, the article said.