According to a new study, eating a lot of salty snacks can cause high blood pressure in students.
A report in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that students’ blood pressure increased as they ate more sodium-rich snacks. Those that ate two or more salty snacks had increased risk of having higher blood pressures compared to those who ate no more than one snack per day.
“In our study, sodium intake from snacks represented almost half of the average daily consumption of sodium,” said senior author Simona Bo from the University of Torino in Italy.
The U.S. recommends children eat less than 2.3 grams of sodium per day. According to Bo, “In our study, the sodium intake has been estimated to be about 3.1 grams per day, much higher than recommended.”
The researchers gave questionnaires to 1,200 kids aged 11 to 13 asking about their salty snack intake. Salty snacks were defined as having more than 0.3 grams of sodium per portion. These include pizzas, potato chips, crackers, cheese and deli meats.
The average sodium intake from salty snacks for all the kids was 1.4 grams per day, already half of the recommended daily sodium intake for children. The average blood pressure readings were around the average range for 12-year-old children. However, blood pressure readings did rise along with an increase in the amount of salty snack intake.
Meghan Garrity, a registered dietitian, cautioned against the reliability of the new study on the account of data inaccuracies from simply asking children what they ate.
“Nonetheless, this study very much demonstrates the role that unhealthy dietary habits are playing on the health and wellbeing of children on a global scale,” Garrity told Reuters Health.
Sources: March 18, 2015. "Salty snacks tied to higher blood pressure in youths". gmanetwork.com March 19, 2015. "Italian study links salty snacks, high blood pressure in kids". uhc.com