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Stark rise in blood pressure linked to sodium intake

American kids appear to be in the middle of a blood pressure crisis. Last year, one study found that hospital visits for children with high blood pressure nearly doubled over a decade to 24,000 cases a year.

Now, in the July 15 edition journal of the American Heart Association (AHA), Hypertension, a new study shows that children and adolescents have seen a stark rise in their risk for high blood pressure over the past 13 years putting them at risk for a lifetime of heart disease, kidney failure and stroke. One of the main reasons? They’re eating too much salt. 

U.S. Dietary Guidelines daily sodium limit:  2,300 mg 

AHA recommended daily limit: 1,500 mg

Study results: 80% of children eating more than 2,300 mg daily + a 27% rise in elevated blood pressure

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 Study leader, Professor Bernard Rosner of Harvard Medical School in Boston, says the study results come from two surveys conducted in the United States. The first, between 1988 and 1994 included 3,200 children. The second, between 1999 and 2000, included 8,300 kids and teenagers.

Between the two studies, the proportion of youngsters aged 8 to 17 with elevated blood pressure rose sharply by 27%.

Other key findings are that children with the greatest sodium intake were 36 per cent more at risk of high blood pressure than those with the lowest, and that more children were overweight in the second study.

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