Just like adults, children and teens in the U.S. consume a great deal of sodium — about 1,000 mg above the recommended maximum daily intake on average, according to a new CDC “Vital Signs” report.
Results from the 2009-2010 edition of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which included 2,266 children 6- to 18-years-old, indicated a mean daily intake of 3,279 mg of sodium, whereas the recommended maximum in the Healthy People 2020 initiative is 2,300 mg/day, according to the report.
Sodium consumption was especially high in teens — participants of high school age had a mean intake of 3,672 mg/day.
As has been reported many times before, the report indicated that much of the sodium came in the form of commercially prepared foods — pizza, fast foods, soups, and snacks. Between-meal snacking accounted for 16% of overall intake, and school cafeteria foods contributed 26% of daily sodium intake on the days that children ate them.
The report’s authors noted that new standards for school meals will reduce their sodium content by 25% to 50% by 2022. But the impact on total sodium intake will reduce the average by only 150 mg/day at most — still leaving most children with daily intake well above the recommended maximum.
Given some recent reporting perhaps I shouldn’t be too cynical about Americans revising their diet, learning enough about nutrition to build a healthier life for future generations.