We can see it now — no more salt shakers in New York City. That probably won’t happen (right, Mayor Bloomberg?) but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says in a new study that American kids are eating way too much salt, just like their grown-up counterparts. Children are ingesting around 1,000 milligrams of salt more than they should be, which is the sodium equivalent of a Big Mac.
That salt overdose is tied to higher blood pressure, especially for kids who are already overweight and obese, reports CBS. It’s usually adults who are studied for salt intake and how it effects weight and blood pressure, but this time the spotlight was turned on 6,200 children ranging from the ages of 8 to 18.
The findings show that over all 15% of kids had either high blood pressure or prehypertension, and those who ate the most salt were more likely of having elevated blood pressure. In that study, 37% of kids were overweight or obese, and they had triple the risk for high blood pressure.
We’re only supposed to be eating 1 teaspoon of salt a day at the most, which is around 2,300 milligrams, but kids in the study were chowing down on an average of 3,400 milligrams. Past research has shown that elevated blood pressure in childhood could make it more likely that they’ll have high blood pressure or premature heart disease later in life.
The CDC’s advice for kids echoes the sensible advice usually handed out to adults — eat less salty snacks, processed goodies and junk food and instead reach for fruits and vegetables without sauce.