First fatty foods, then sugary drinks, now President Obama’s food police are gunning for salt in their effort to upend the typical kiddy diet.
The latest evidence came Tuesday when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a report that school-aged children are eating a mountain of salt. The intake is so high, that the CDC is recommending a 50 percent cut within eight years.
But that might be hard. Just consider one of the biggest suppliers of salt -- school cafeterias.
The same cafeterias ordered to dish up the first lady’s healthy menu that swaps pizza for salads, and that many kids are turning their nose up to, is responsible for more than a quarter of the childhood sodium per day.
“Among children who consumed a school meal on the day assessed, 26 percent of sodium intake came from school cafeteria foods,” said the “vital signs” report.
Below are the key takeaways from the report:
Background: A national health objective is to reduce average U.S. sodium intake to 2,300 mg daily to help prevent high blood pressure, a major cause of heart disease and stroke. Identifying common contributors to sodium intake among children can help reduction efforts.
Methods: Average sodium intake, sodium consumed per calorie, and proportions of sodium from food categories, place obtained, and eating occasion were estimated among 2,266 school-aged (6–18 years) participants in What We Eat in America, the dietary intake component of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2009–2010.
Results: U.S. school-aged children consumed an estimated 3,279 mg of sodium daily with the highest total intake (3,672 mg/d) and intake per 1,000 kcal (1,681 mg) among high school–aged children. Forty-three percent of sodium came from 10 food categories: pizza, bread and rolls, cold cuts/cured meats, savory snacks, sandwiches, cheese, chicken patties/nuggets/tenders, pasta mixed dishes, Mexican mixed dishes, and soups. Sixty-five percent of sodium intake came from store foods, 13% from fast food/pizza restaurants, 5% from other restaurants, and 9% from school cafeteria foods. Among children aged 14–18 years, 16% of total sodium intake came from fast food/pizza restaurants versus 11% among those aged 6–10 years or 11–13 years (p<0.05). Among children who consumed a school meal on the day assessed, 26% of sodium intake came from school cafeteria foods. Thirty-nine percent of sodium was consumed at dinner, followed by lunch (29%), snacks (16%), and breakfast (15%).Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.