The pandemic led kids stay full day home, which included digital-education, smart working, limitation of outdoors and no physical activity. The interruption of the daily routine caused by it resulted in boredom, which in turn is associated with a greater energy intake. Especially overeating packaged foods which are high in sodium.
It is crucial to limit the sodium intake for kids as this will help prevent future health conditions
The salt we consume consists of 40% sodium and 60% chlorine which is essential for keeping the body healthy and working. Sodium helps balance electrolytes, maintain blood pressure, enhance muscle function and send messages along the nerves. It also regulates the water balance in the body, and helps absorb other nutrients in the small intestine.
However, the recommended intake per day for children is as follows
- Two grams: For age 1 to 3
- Three grams: For age 4 to 6
- Five grams: For age 7 to 10,
- Six grams: For age 11 and above.
Unhealthy eating patterns and excessive consumption of street grub, junk food, processed articles like papad, pickles, bread & bakery items; maida products such as instant noodles & pasta; frequently cause the salt intake to exceed the prescribed limit.
This harm child’s health in the long run – leading to hypertension, frequent headaches, poor focus and concentration, weak memory and hormonal imbalance. In some cases, multiple issues may also result in juvenile diabetes.
Here are a few harmful effects of excess salt intake in children:
- High blood pressure: Salt is directly linked to blood pressure. Higher sodium intake leads to elevated blood pressure, which can result in strokes, heart attacks and other cardiac conditions as we grow older.
- Obesity: It is indirectly related to numerous health problems, such as high blood pressure, diabetes and sleep apnoea.
- Kidney stone and diseases: High salt intake, when combined with calcium in the urine, results in additional load on the kidney – leading to kidney stones. A high salt diet can disrupt the function of the kidney and cause high blood pressure. This, in turn, leads to kidney disease.
Water retention: Puffiness of the face, swelling of the feet, and pain in legs and calves are all related to heaviness caused by water retention due to excess salt. Many parents mistake such swelling for muscles generated through physical activity.