Open almost any kitchen cabinet and there it is: salt. In fact, fresh research published in the journal Pediatrics reveals that sodium has become a dietary fixture across all age groups with today's teens consuming as much salt as adults.
After tracking the week-long eating habits of more than 760 high school kids, investigators found that, on average, adolescents now take in 3280 mg of sodium per day. That amounts to more than two times the recommended daily allowance of 1500 mg, set out by the American Heart Association.
The problem? Poor teenage salt habits could lead to teenage obesity. Prior investigations had long suggested that consuming high amounts of dietary salt indirectly leads to weight gain by promoting more eating, and more drinking of sugary sodas.
However, the current focus on teens unearthed a new twist. By analyzing adolescent food diaries, body fat, blood samples, height and weight, and activity patterns the authors found that salt seems to directly, and independently, boost the risk for youthful obesity.
Exactly why this is so remains unclear though past work with animals suggests that salt may cause fat cells to grow, while increasing hunger.
I'm Dr. Cindy Haines of HealthDay TV, with the news to help keep your family healthy.