According to the latest research, reducing the salt in teenagersâ€™ diets by as little as one-half teaspoon, or three grams, per day, could reduce the number of young adults with high blood pressure by 44 to 63 percent.
Currently, the average U.S. adolescent consumes 9 grams of salt per day – most of it via processed foods.
The American Heart Association recommends a maximum salt consumption of 1.5 grams per day.
In this study, the researchers employed a great big dose of common sense to recognize that it is highly unlikely that kids are going to drop their salt consumption down to 1.5 grams per day. In response, they conducted a study where they made a more reasonable reduction in salt consumption
By lowering dietary salt by three grams per day, the researchers projected the following benefits for healthcare in the United States:
- 44-63 percent, or 380,000-550,000, fewer hypertensive young people aged 12-24 years
- 30-43 percent, or 2,700,000â€“3,900,000, fewer hypertensive adults aged 35-50 years
- 7-12 percent, or 120,000-210,000, fewer incidents of coronary heart disease
- 8-14 percent, or 36,000-64,000, fewer heart attacks
- 5-8 percent, or 16,000-28,000, fewer strokes
And that brings us to the big question.
How do encourage the processed food industry to voluntarily lower the salt content in their products?
5-9 percent, or 69,000-120,000, fewer deaths of any cause as teenagers reach age 50