Are Our Kids in Danger from Too Much Salt?

Headlines this week are pouncing on a new announcement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that finds over 90% of American kids are eating too much salt, which the CDC says raises their risk of heart disease and high blood pressure. Sounds really scary, right? But before you throw away all the salt shakers, bread, and pasta in your house consider a few things:

  • The jury is still out on whether salt actually causes higher blood pressure or heart problems. Every few months there are new studies that come out either blaming salt for causing heart problems or saying that two little salt could actually be harmful. We reported on a pair of recent conflicting studies in our recent blog.
  • Though the American Heart Association and government agencies recommend very low salt intake, other medical professionals and scientists have suggested these guidelines are too strict.

If you really want to help your children protect their hearts for years to come, one of the most important habits you can instill is regular exercise. Not only does exercise help ward off excess weight (a new study suggests that even a few extra pounds could raise the risk of high blood pressure—though the sample size was very small), but exercise itself has been shown to control blood pressure.

Instead of worrying that the sandwich you’ve packed in the lunchbox or the Friday night pizza your family enjoys together is going to wreak havoc on your child’s future, try going for a bike ride as a family or taking a hike. Exercise is an excellent stress reducer and heart-helper for everyone in the family, and working out as a group makes it easier to stay committed to your goals. For more ideas, check out these 10 ways to exercise as a family.