Reducing Adolescent Sodium Intake = Reducing Obesity Risk
In a recent study that was published online Feb. 3 in the journal Pediatrics, researchers examined the week-long eating habits of more than 760 black and white high school kids between the ages of 14 and 18, making an alarming discovery revealing that 97 percent of today’s teens are consuming an average of 3,280 milligrams (mg) of sodium (salt) every day, which far exceeds the American Heart Association's recommendations for a maximum of 1,500 mg of sodium per day.
Researchers also uncovered a direct link where excessive sodium intakes lead to a higher risk for adolescent obesity, even after accounting for other factors that could cause obesity (such as the quantity of sugar-sweetened beverages and calorie-laden foods consumed and activity levels). Even when the participants’ lead more active lifestyles and had healthier eating habits, excessive daily salt consumption still lead to an increased risk for obesity.
While more research still needs to be conducted in order to determine the exact causes and mechanism for how high levels of sodium consumption lead to obesity, the important take aways from this study highlight the importance of providing our youth with better education on the importance of good nutrition and following a healthier lifestyle. A good place to start is at home, leading by example.