Pretzels, bacon, fries and many other processed foods should be avoided when it comes to feeding our children says The World Health Organization (WHO). For the first time, it has released new daily sodium consumption limits for children. The aim is to reduce high blood pressure, one of the leading contributors to heart disease and stroke.
Heart disease, stroke and other non-communicable diseases (NCDs) take years and decades to show up, but in fact, kill more people each year than all other causes combined.
Sodium is found naturally in many foods such as milk products and eggs, but is present in much higher levels in processed foods, the WHO said. For example, one 100-gram serving of bacon, pretzels or popcorn has nearly as much sodium as the daily-recommended maximum for adults.
The guidelines are for children over the age of two vary depending on the child’s size, age, and energy needs. Health Canada’s recommendations are as follows:
Infants 0-6 months 120 mg/day
Infants 7-12 months 370 mg/day
Children 1-3 years 1000 mg/day
Children 4-8 years 1200 mg/day
Teens 9-13 years 1500 mg/day
As well as recommending lowering the sodium intake for children (and adults), WHO also said that most people do not consume enough potassium. Potassium-rich foods include beans and peas, nuts, vegetables such as spinach, cabbage and parsley, and fruits such as bananas, papayas and dates.
Source: CBC News & Reuters, January 31, 2013