Sodium Intake and Blood Pressure in Children
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- Hanevold, C.D. Curr Hypertens Rep (2013) 15: 417. doi:10.1007/s11906-013-0382-z
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Elevation of blood pressure (BP) and the risk for progression to hypertension (HTN) is of increasing concern in children and adolescents. Indeed, it is increasingly recognized that target organ injury may begin with even low levels of BP elevation. Sodium intake has long been recognized as a modifiable risk factor for HTN. While it seems clear that sodium impacts BP in children, its effects may be enhanced by other factors including obesity and increasing age. Evidence from animal and human studies indicates that sodium may have adverse consequences on the cardiovascular system independent of HTN. Thus, moderation of sodium intake over a lifetime may reduce risk for cardiovascular morbidity in adulthood. An appetite for salt is acquired, and intake beyond our need is almost universal. Considering that eating habits in childhood have been shown to track into adulthood, modest sodium intake should be advocated as part of a healthy lifestyle.