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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Give your children the best start in life. Protect them from salt and salty food.

Salt and salty food are bad for little children. It is eating salty food that causes children to become fat. Children are especially vulnerable to salt because of their small size and small blood volume, and because their blood vessels are weaker than those of adults. Salt, and the water it attracts to it, can more easily distend weak blood vessels than fully mature ones. The resulting increase in blood volume and other fluid retention results in weight gain, as well as higher blood pressure and many other undesirable consequences. The smaller the child, the less salt they should have - and a baby, of course, should have no salt at all. - Babies can die if they are fed salty food.

There are high amounts of salt in packet soups, instant noodles, ketchup and sauces, sausages, burgers and savoury snacks. Fat children will lose weight fast if they eat less salt. And even faster still if they eat plenty of fresh fruit and unsalted vegetables, because these are rich in potassium, which helps to displace sodium from the body. Overweight children should not be put on a diet; dieting is harmful and unnecessary and does not usually result in weight loss. Once children start dieting it is often the beginning of a lifetime of yo-yo dieting and increasing weight and ill-health.

Unfortunately bread contains a lot of salt and most families eat quite a lot of bread because of using it for sandwiches in packed lunches, and for toast, etc. Because of its high salt content bread is not a healthy food for little children or for anyone who is overweight. Some bread manufacturers have lowered the salt content of certain loaves, but most bread still usually contains 0.5g or more of sodium per 100g. This is too much. - Always check on the packet; look for the lowest sodium content.

Boycott salty snacks that manufacturers make for children. Salty snacks damage the health of little children, and the damage is permanent.

Try to find children's foods with less salt. Or provide home-cooked meals, without any, or without much, added salt, rather than commercially produced ready meals and snacks.

For breakfast consider providing porridge, ReadyBrek, Shredded Wheat or Shreddies, all of which have no added salt, instead of cornflakes or most other breakfast cereals, which have had a lot of salt added by manufacturers.

If your children are keen on beans in tomato sauce, look at the label on the tin. - Buy the tin with a lower salt/sodium content. Give them smaller helpings of the beans.

In general it would be good for children not to develop a taste for salt. Providing snacks of fresh fruit, ready-to-eat dried fruit or unsalted nuts instead of salty savouries would help them.

See Children and Obesity