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Could cutting kids' salt intake help weight?

  • Blog Post by: Colleen Stoxen
  • December 10, 2012 - 6:20 PM

Children who eat a lot of salty food also tend to down more sugary drinks – which, in turn, might be related to their risk of obesity, a new study suggests.

The findings raise the possibility that curbing kids' salt intake could end up benefiting their waistlines, researchers report in the Dec. 10 online and January print issue of Pediatrics.

The study, of nearly 4,300 Australian children and teens, found that the more salt kids ate each day, the more fluids they drank. The same was true when the researchers zeroed in on the nearly two-thirds of kids who drank sugary beverages: For every 390 milligrams (mg) of sodium they got each day, they averaged an extra 0.6 ounces of sugar-sweetened soda, juice or other drinks.

Those liquid calories, in turn, were linked – albeit weakly – to the risk of obesity.

Kids who had more than one sugary drink in a day were 26 percent more likely to be overweight or obese than their peers who avoided sweetened drinks. That connection, however, weakened once the researchers factored in exercise habits.

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