A study in Australia indicated recently that children aged 4-12 – the age group studied – consume, on average, way more salt than they should. The study’s immediate interest was if, or how, dietary sodium – table salt and the assorted versions of sodium that show up in foodstuffs, particularly manufactured ones – might affect obesity. But if even a few minutes research were necessary (which it shouldn’t be, for anyone interested in this blog), it is quite clear that excess sodium consumption sets bodies up for an assortment of health risks, including hypertension potentially leading to strokes or heart attacks.
The study was centered at Deakin University in Burwood, Victoria. There also was involvement by Queen Mary University in London.
The same study sample was used – a 24-hour urine collection – as the type that showed sodium-intake/obesity relationships in such other countries as the U.K., the U.S. and Korea, in each of which urine sodium levels were compared with energy intake (EI) – calorie consumption. In the end, after measurements including BMI (body mass intake), waist/height ratios, age, sex, and other factors, it was seen that higher consumption rates of sodium exposed many in the studied subjects group to greater risk of both overall and abdominal adiposity (obesity).
In addition to looking at total fluid intake, the scientists focused particularly on the children’s intake of sugar-sweetened beverages. Hardly surprisingly, children without either the best training or observation by parents (or other principal caregivers) tend to take advantage of too many opportunities to down the latter – a practice far from unique in Australia.
While this study didn’t seem to pay a lot of heed to sweetened/excessively sweetened cereals, these most certainly have an effect on a child’s overall health as well as his/her weight/height relationship.
Increasingly, in the U.S., parents are being encouraged to limit their children’s consumption of such cereals and, as or more importantly, manufacturers are being encouraged to cut cereals’ sugar content both to keep their existing customers and to be able to attract new, more-health-oriented ones.
Sadly, but hardly unexpectedly, manufacturers are being slower to react to pleas of those sorts than are parents. Manufacturers seem to be similarly less interested in taking serious steps to reduce sodium content in foodstuffs.
The reality today, in many places, is that people are leaning toward healthier diets – diets that will keep them more lean – and younger parents are, being health-oriented themselves, sure to make serious attempts to instill good eating habits in their kids.
Pay particular attention, for a couple of days, to the physic of men and women you see on the interviewer or presenter side of news stories, and as characters in whatever TV shows you watch. If you have time, google a few old show titles, and take a look at an episode or two on YouTube or wherever. You more than likely will see a disconnect from the physical shapes of (particularly males) in say, the 1980’s and today: Today’s versions tend to be slimmer, more fit-looking.
Somehow, those from those years who continue to be alive and thriving – Michael Douglas, featured in the current issue of AARP The Magazine, for example, is amazingly fit-looking for age 71. We (including me, two years his elder) should all be so lucky!
(But remember: It’s not really a matter of luck. It’s a result of taking care of one’s self!)