From the CDC website:
About 9 in 10 US children eat more sodium than recommended. Most sodium is in the form of salt, as a part of processed foods. A high sodium diet can lead to high blood pressure. About 1 in 6 children ages 8-17 years has raised blood pressure. High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. Lowering sodium in children’s diets today can help prevent heart disease tomorrow, especially for those who are overweight. The taste for salt is established through diet at a young age. Parents and caregivers can help lower sodium by influencing the way foods are produced, sold, prepared, and served.
Sounds bad. How much sodium are they consuming?
US children ages 6-18 years eat an average of about 3,300 mg of sodium a day before salt is added at the table. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that children eat less than 2,300 mg per day.
This would be laughable if I weren’t already crying. Was it really that long ago that I wrote – repeatedly – about how studies found that, yes, consuming more than 7 g/d of sodium a day was really bad for you compared to consuming 3-6 g/d? But that eating less than 3 g/d was associated with even worse outcomes? And that the average American eats 3.4 g/d, putting them in the low range of the safe zone? And that CDC recommendations of 2.3 g/d weren’t supported by evidence?
So why is the CDC saying that kids and adolescents eating 3.3 g/d is too much? Where’s the evidence? Did they read the NEJM?
It gets worse. They also say that African American kids and adolescents should only be eating 1.5 g/d of sodium? Really? No concerns at all about that?