New research published by the Health Supplement Information Service (HSIS) reveals that children as young as seven are eating more salt than the maximum level recommended for adults.
Their findings come in a review by leading nutrition experts from HSIS of more than 50 previously published papers and reports on the topic of children’s eating habits.
It is also possible that the intake could actually be higher still as previous studies into the subject may have given lower readings than was actually the case, due to their not having taken into account salt added during cooking or at the table.
The recommended daily amount for adults is 6g a day, but fast food, ready-made pasta and cereals aimed at children have all played a part at increasing the daily salt intake among seven to 14-year-olds to 6.4g for boys and 5.6g for girls.
The new report claims children in the UK are risking serious illnesses later in life because of poor diet and nutrition while they are young and they now believe that many 8 to 16-year-olds should reduce their salt intake by up to 42% to achieve significant cuts in blood pressure.
Health experts say youngsters’ health is also being hit because of high intakes of saturated fat and sugar and inadequate amounts of essential vitamins and minerals. and essential fatty acids from oily fish.
While the researchers found that on average diets have improved in recent years, they say that there are still major nutritional problems that were cause for concern and need addressing urgently.