Salt linked to high blood pressure in youngsters

SALT has been linked to studies that are finding a pattern of rising blood pressure among children and teenagers, new research shows.

Scientists have discovered that over the last decade there has been a 27 per cent rise in elevated blood pressure in youngsters aged eight to 17.

Crucially, they found children with the greatest salt intake were 36 per cent more at risk of raised blood pressure than those with the lowest.

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The study, by Harvard Medical School in Boston, also found eight in ten young people were consuming more than 2,300mg of sodium a day. The recommended maximum daily intake is 1,500mg.

Study leader Professor Bernard Rosner said: “Everyone expects sodium intake will continue to go up. It seems there’s been a little bit of listening to dietary recommendations, but not a lot.”

Blood pressure in children varies, but the US surveys showed a clear upward trend.

The first included 3,200 children and took place between 1988 and 1994. The second, with 8,300 participants, was carried out between 1999 and 2008.

Between the two, the proportion of children and teenagers with raised blood pressure – linked to diabetes and heart disease – increased by 27 per cent.