Posted at: 09/18/2012 5:45 PM
Updated at: 09/18/2012 6:20 PM
By: Dan Conradt
Concern Over Youth Salt Intake
(ABC 6 NEWS) -- Obesity isn't the only health challenge our kids are facing today.
A new study says kids are consuming nearly as much salt as adults, and it's putting their bodies at risk.
"Our bodies require sodium,” explained Austin public schools food service director Mary Weikum.
But there’s a big difference between what we require and what we’re eating: “Americans are just eating entirely too much sodium in their diet."
“However, if we have too much sodium then we can look at the negatives, which would be high blood pressure and heart disease," added Mower County Public Health Planner Jane Knutson.
“It leads to many different illnesses that we can prevent, so we're going to working at doing that," said food service director Mary Weikum.
And because kids are consuming a disproportionate amount of salt, nearly as much as adults, new federal school lunch guidelines call for a significant reduction in salt.
"A little less than half of what is allowed now will be allowed for the sodium in a school lunch by 2022," the Austin school district’s Mary Weikum told us.
That's ten years from now, it's going to take that long to make the change.
"The idea is to allow manufacturers time to change how they are processing food," Mary Weikum said.
“Pre-packaged foods tend to have a lot more sodium for the processing of the foods," added Mower County Public Health Planner Jane Knutson.
“Until you actually cut back and limit your salt intake, you don't realize how much alt is in foods."
But believe it or not, dinner can still be tasty, without all that salt.
“You can get products that have no salt. You can look at using fresh herbs, other spices that add flavor to foods," Jane Knutson told us.
“We need to train our palates to use those types of things rather than always heading for the salt shaker," added food service director Mary Weikum.
“I honestly believe it's going to be much harder for adults to change their sodium intake than children."
And with school lunches leading the way, it could be the kids setting a good example for the rest of us.
"If the opportunity is out there to teach kids early on, sometimes they can be teachers for the parents as well," Jane Knutson said.