Washington, Feb 21 : A new study at St. George's University of London, England has found that by reducing the salt intake of children, it may be possible to lower their consumption of soft drink, thus reducing the risk of obesity, elevated blood pressure, as well as heart attack and stroke later-in-life.
The study led by Dr Feng J. He examined the data from the National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS) in Great Britain including more than 1,600 boys and girls between 4 and 18 years.
The analysis revealed that children eating a lower-salt diet drank fewer sugar-sweetened soft drinks.
"We found that children eating a lower-salt diet drank less fluid," said Dr. He, a cardiovascular research fellow at St. George's.
"From our research, we estimated that 1 gram of salt cut from their daily diet would reduce fluid intake by 100 grams per day," she added.
She suggested that if children cut their salt intake by half there would be a decrease of approximately two sugar-sweetened soft drinks per week per child.
"Not only would reducing salt intake lower blood pressure in children, but it could also play a role in helping to reduce obesity," she said.
"Both high blood pressure and obesity increase the risk of having strokes and heart attacks.
"It is, therefore, important for children to eat a low-salt diet to reduce their risk of having a stroke or a heart attack later in life. All physicians should give their patients appropriate advice on how to reduce salt in their diet," she added.
Dr. He recommended that parents should check labels, choose low-salt food products and not add salt during cooking and at the table.
The study appears in the issue of Hypertension: Journal of the American Heart Association.