Halt the salt

September 18, 2012 —

It’s little surprise that we consume too much salt. Sadly, a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), published in the journal Pediatrics, shows that our kids are, too: American youth between the ages of 8 and 18 are eating, on average, 3,387 milligrams per day – about the same amount as adults but a lot more than the 2,300-milligram daily limit recommended by federal dietary guidelines.

Graphic: Centers for Disease Control

The dangerous consequence, the CDC says, is that high sodium intake is linked to high blood pressure, especially among children who are overweight. About 15 percent of the children in the study had either elevated or high blood pressure. CDC public health analyst Janelle Gunn says, “We found that among overweight and obese participants [in the study], that for every 1,000 milligrams of sodium they consumed, their blood pressure response was seven times greater” compared to healthy-weight children.

Countering this disturbing trend will take more than shaking the salt-shaker habit. Many processed foods, from packaged deli meats, condiments and bread, are loaded with sodium, as depicted in the CDC sandwich comparison. That points to our need to scrupulously review food labels, as we can’t always tell salt by taste alone.

Sodium-free spices are a great way to flavor food and limit sodium intake. Have you tried reducing your salt consumption? If so, what has helped you do so?


Endlessly curious and easily entertained, Barb Dietrich Boose loves being a member of the friendly, fascinating DMU community and its creative communications team. The University's publications director and DMU Magazine editor, Barb is always on the hunt for story ideas, good books and new recipes to try out on her family, such as her surprisingly tasty pork-and-bean bars.