Teen Health: Cutting Salt Intake Now Can Protect Against Health Issues Later in Life

Teenagers who consume only the recommended amount of salt each day have a considerably lower risk of developing hypertension, stroke, heart disease, and premature death later in life.

More and more, it’s being discovered that the key to health is the result of life-long habits. A recent study conducted by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco found that teenagers who consume only the recommended amount of salt each day have a considerably lower risk of developing hypertension, stroke, heart disease, and premature death later in life. These finding were presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2010, Chicago.

The researchers found that the consumption of processed food contribute significantly to the high salt intake of teenagers. Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, Ph.D., M.D. and the rest of the research team at the University of California employed a computer modeling analysis system to determine the long term health benefits of slat levels in processed foods were reduced in 3-grams per day nationwide. They focused on products most commonly consumed by teenagers. They deduced that just a 3 gram drop in daily intake among teenagers would reduce the number of young adults with hypertension by 380,000-to 550,000, a decree between 44-63%.

 When presenting their findings at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2010, Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, Ph.D., M.D. said:

"The hidden places of salt in our diet are in breads and cereals, canned foods and condiments, and of course fast foods," said Bibbins-Domingo, also co-director of the UCSF Center for Vulnerable Populations. "Most of the salt that we eat is not from our salt shaker, but salt that is already added in food that we eat."

According to predictions offered by the researchers, they found that if teenagers reduced their daily intake of salt they found that by the time they were 50, there would be significant health benefits. Specifically, there would be 120,000 to 210,000 cases of coronary artery disease, 36,000 to 64,000 fewer heart attacks, 16, 28,000 fewer strokes, and 69,000 to 120,000 fewer deaths – of any cause.

 Source: American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2010


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