Salt could fuel child obesity — study


London : Salt-rich diets could be the key to why some children battle with obesity, researchers from the University of London said Thursday.

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In a study of data on 1,600 children, they found that children eating a salty diet tended to drink more, including more fattening, sugary soft drinks.

They reported in the journal “Hypertension” that halving the average daily salt intake of six grams a day could cut 250 calories a week from a child’s diet.

The researchers called for further work by the food industry on reducing salt content.
One-in-five children in the UK is overweight and there are fears that this will contribute to a rising trend in adult obesity, heart disease and stroke in years to come.

Eating products high in salt tends to make people thirsty and it is known that in adults, a salt-laden diet tends to increase the amount of sugary soft drinks consumed.

This is the first study to see if the same effect was found in children.

The team estimated that if children cut their salt intake by half, an average reduction of three grams a day, there would be a decrease of approximately two sugar-sweetened soft drinks per week per child.

That, in turn, would decrease each child’s calorie intake by almost 250 calories per week.

A spokesman for the UK charity the “British Heart Foundation” said that better food labelling would help parents to choose healthier foods for their families.

“When children regularly swill down salty foods with sugary, calorie-laden soft drinks, it can mean double trouble for their future heart health,” he added.