High sodium consumption increases hypertension in kids

USA Today reports, “Kids are eating as much salt as adults, and those consuming the highest amounts of sodium have a two or three times greater risk of having high blood pressure as kids who down the least amount, says a study” published in Pediatrics.

Investigators “with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analyzed the diets of 6,235 children, ages eight to 18.” The researchers found “that children are consuming an average of almost 3,400 milligrams of sodium a day, about the same as adults.”

The Wall Street Journal reports that the study’s lead author, Quanhe Yang, a CDC scientist, said, “We found a significant association between high sodium intake and high blood pressure among all the kids we studied, but it was magnified among kids who were overweight or obese.” The investigators found that, among normal-weight children, the risk of developing prehypertension or hypertension increased 6% for each 1,000 mgs of sodium taken in daily. However, the risk increased 74% for overweight or obese participants.

The AP reports, “Yang says it’s unclear why heavier kids would be more sensitive to salt but it could be due to obesity-related hormone changes.” The findings “raise concerns because studies have shown that elevated blood pressure in childhood, even just prehypertension, can lead to full-fledged high blood pressure in adulthood and potentially premature heart disease.”

MedPage Today reports, “The synergy of weight and sodium intake has been hypothesized to be ‘related to the effects of hyperinsulinemia and hyperaldosteronism and to relatively high activity of the sympathetic nervous system among obese adolescents,’ the researchers pointed out.”

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