The amount of salt being consumed by Australian children tops the agenda for International Salt Awareness Week. Research suggests Aussie kids consume over twice the recommended daily allowance of salt, leading to health problems in later life.
Key players in the food industry, government and health will consider the issue at an event being hosted by The George Institute for International Health at the State Library of New South Wales.
Salt raises the blood pressure of children leading to hypertension in adults. Although the health problems associated with hypertension do not appear until later life, researchers say these problems are strongly influenced by childhood health.
Chairman of the Australian Division of World Action on Salt & Health (AWASH) Dr Bruce Neal said, “Parents in our poll reported that children are frequently eating salty snacks. Many of the staple foods eaten by Australian children also have a lot of salt in them. This can make it extremely difficult for parents to keep salt intakes at a healthy level.”
The Australian National Health and Research Council recommends a maximum upper level of 3.5g salt per day for 4-8 year olds, and 5g for 9-13 year olds. As you can see from the table above, the average Aussie kid consumes almost twice that.
AWASH wants to work with government to make salt reduction a national health priority. The ‘Drop the Salt’ campaign will run for the next five years to reduce salt intake in the Australian population to 6 grams a day.