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Monday 19th March 2018

High BP in 4-year-olds

7th September 2007

A new study has shown that young children may be consuming too much salt and could be at risk of high blood pressure.


The study, known as the National Diet and Nutrition Survey, had 2,127 participants. It was commissioned as a national audit for the Department of Health and surveyed 4-18-year-olds in Britain.

The Journal of Human Hypertension reported that 1,658 participants kept a record of their food and drink consumption. Their salt intake and blood pressure were also monitored.

The average salt intake for a four-year-old child was 4.7g a day. This figure is far higher than the 2-3g which the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition recommends.

The study showed that for each extra gram of salt consumed, there was a corresponding rise in blood pressure. Parents were cautioned to look carefully for "hidden salt in foods".

Professor Malcolm Law, professor of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine at the Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine, said the study's results were a cause for concern.

"This confirms that eating more salt increases blood pressure in childhood and also adds extra weight to the current public health campaign to reduce salt in the UK diet," he said.

Jo Butten from the group Consensus Action on Salt and Health said the study showed that parents should look at food packaging: "especially on foods such as breakfast cereals and snack products".

Professor Graham MacGregor, who co-authored the study, said: "We know that salt acts as a chronic long-term toxin, slowly putting up blood pressure as we grow older."

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