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Vital Signs: Sodium Intake Among U.S. School-Aged Children — 2009–2010
  • Published Date:
    Sep 12 2014
  • Source:
    MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2014; 63(36):789-797.
Filetype[PDF-473.99 KB]


Details:
  • Pubmed ID:
    25211544
  • Pubmed Central ID:
    PMC4584695
  • Description:
    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%).

    Implications for Public Health Practice

    Sodium intake among school-aged children is much higher than recommended. Multiple food categories, venues, meals, and snacks contribute to sodium intake among school-aged children supporting the importance of populationwide strategies to reduce sodium intake. New national nutrition standards are projected to reduce the sodium content of school meals by approximately 25%–50% by 2022. Based on this analysis, if there is no replacement from other sources, sodium intake among U.S. school-aged children will be reduced by an average of about 75–150 mg per day and about 220–440 mg on days children consume school meals.

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