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25th February 2008 – Obesity is growing not only in the UK but also in other parts of the world. According to a study done by researchers University of London, intake of food high in salt by children could be responsible for obesity.
The study published by the research team at St George's was published in the journal Hypertension. The researchers collected data from National Diet and Nutrition Survey that included cases of 1,600 children aged four to eighteen and found that children consuming salty diet are more inclined towards soft drinks, which are sugary and fattening in nature.
The reason a diet high in salt can lead to obesity, a condition which is often treatment with medications such as Xenical, is that it increases thirst and this increases the consumption of sugary soft drinks. But up until now this has only been found to be the case with adults.
The study was carried out by precisely measuring the salt and fluid intake of children and it was found that children on a lower-salt diet consumed less fluid.
- One gram of salt cut from a daily diet can reduce fluid intake by 100grams per day
- A 50% cut on salt intake (approximately three grams a day) can reduce consumption of two sugar-sweetened soft drinks
- This decrease in consumption of salt and soft drinks can reduce calorie consumption of almost 250 calories per week
Out of every five children in the UK, one is overweight and it is feared that this will eventually lead to increased rate of not only adult obesity, but also heart disease and stroke in coming years, usually associated with obesity which will lead to an increase in the number of people who take Reductil as a medicated means of reducing their weight in adulthood.
Researchers have called upon the food industry to reduce the salt content in their products. According to them some types of food targeted at children and made from mechanically recovered meat contain salt level that can be compared to seawater as otherwise they would be inedible.
British Heart Foundation expressed views through its one of the spokesman who said, "When children regularly swill down salty foods with sugary, calorie-laden soft drinks, it can mean double trouble for their future heart health."
He further said, "This report is yet more proof that children must be supported to make healthier food choices to avoid becoming obese or increasing their blood pressure."
Now it is upon parents to safeguard their children from such foods and prevent obesity. It is hard to fight obesity once it sets in, so prevention is always better than cure.