U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) researchers recently published a study finding that sodium intake among U.S. children and adolescents “is positively associated” with systolic blood pressure (SBP) and risk for pre-high blood pressure and high blood pressure (pre-HBP/HBP). Quanhe Yang, et al., “Sodium Intake and Blood Pressure Among US Children and Adolescents,” Pediatrics, October 2012. According to the study, which used 24-hour dietary recalls to estimate the sodium intake of 6,235 children ages 8-18 years, the subjects consumed an average of 3,387 milligrams of sodium daily. The results also apparently indicated that the associations between sodium intake and increased SBP and risk for pre-HBP/HBP “may be stronger” among the 37 percent of participants who were overweight or obese than among those who were not. While in normal-weight children every 1,000 mg extra of sodium evidently corresponded with a one-point rise in SBP, in obese or overweight children every 1,000 mg extra of sodium corresponded with a 1.5-point rise in SBP.

“The average sodium consumption among US children and adolescents aged 8 to 18 years is as high as that of adults,” concludes the study. “Evidence-based interventions that help participants reduce their sodium intake, increase their physical activity, and attain or maintain a healthy weight may help reduce the greater than expected prevalence of HBP and other cardiovascular disease risk factors among children and adolescents.”