Report: Sodium consumption high among children

by Meat&Poultry Staff
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CDC researchers found children consume more than 3,000 mg of sodium before adding salt at the table.

ATLANTA – More than 90 percent of children between the ages of six and 18 consume more than the recommended amount of sodium, according to a new Vital Signs report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

US children aged six to 18 eat an average of about 3,300 mg of sodium a day before salt is added at the table, according to the report. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that children eat less than 2,300 mg per day.

CDC researchers also found that approximately 65 percent of sodium comes from store foods, 13 percent from fast food and pizza restaurant foods, and 9 percent from school cafeteria foods.

Based on data from the 2009-2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, the CDC noted that about 43 percent of sodium eaten by children comes from 10 foods including cold cuts, cured meats and chicken products like nuggets and tenders.

CDC says sources of excess sodium consumed by children include meat and poultry products.

The CDC recommends that parents tackle the problem by giving their children a diet high in fruits and vegetables without added sodium. Schools and school districts can offer students lower-sodium options in vending machines, school stores and cafeterias.

“Thanks to the Healthy, Hunger-free Kids Act and the work of schools across the country, students are now receiving healthier meals and snacks featuring less sodium, sugar and fat and more whole grains, fruits and vegetables, lean protein and low-fat dairy,” said Under Secretary for USDA’s Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services, Kevin Concannon. “This report demonstrates the importance of continuing to move forward in our efforts to improve nutrition in schools, and to ensure that children and teens nationwide have access to safe, nutritious meals and snacks during the school day.”

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