Salt, that delicious, desiccating pulverized crystalline mineral, the substance that makes French fries and popcorn taste less like potatoes and corn, is quickly corroding the arteries of children in the US. According to new research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American kids are ingesting waaay too much sodium, about 1,000 milligrams more than what they should be having, which is leading to a troubling uptick in prehypertension among people entirely too young to start ruining family meals by complaining about their hypertension.
Researchers asked 6,200 children between the ages of eight and 18 about their food intake from the previous day, finding that, on average, participants were consuming about 3,300 milligrams daily (the recommended daily amount for kids and adults is about a teaspoon or 2,300 milligrams). Moreover, about 15 percent of participants either had high blood pressure or slightly elevated blood pressure (prehypertension), a condition three times more prevalent among obese or overweight children.
Since it asks only for a day-in-the-life of sampling, the survey might have the same limitations as another recent study that found kids in the US are guzzling diet soda faster than lampreys drink seawater. What if survey participants had a traditional American salt-feast, complete with Slim Jims, gas station brand sour cream and onion chips, and salt cola just a day before the survey? Haven't accounted for that, have we, science? Researchers were still pretty troubled, because, not only is high sodium intake bad in itself, but, according to Dr Frederick Kaskel, Chief of paediatric nephrology at Children's Hospital at Montefiore in New York, "it is also indicative of an unhealthy diet." In other words, where there's sodium smoke, there's a raging wildfire of ice cream for breakfast, lard-battered waffle cakes (I don't even know what that is but it sounds super delicious and unhealthy) for lunch, and pie for dinner.