American children eat as much salt as adults, according to new research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention -- and where they are getting that sodium from may surprise you.
The CDC found kids eat, on average, about 3,300 milligrams of salt daily – that's about 1,000 milligrams too much.
The recommended daily salt or sodium intake for kids and adults is no more than one teaspoon daily. To put that into perspective, 1,000 milligrams is equal to the sodium in about one Big Mac.
The CDC looked at national health survey data on 6,200 kids ranging in age from 8 to 18, from 2003 to 2008. The children were asked twice over several days to track everything they ate the day before, and researchers measured their salt intake from those answers.
Of the children studied, about 15 percent had either high blood pressure or slightly elevated blood pressure. Among overweight or obese kids, the risk was more than triple.
CDC researcher Quanhe Yang said it's unclear why heavier kids would be more sensitive to salt but it could be due to obesity-related hormone changes. The blood pressure readings are troubling because studies have shown elevated blood pressure in childhood can lead to full-fledged high blood pressure in adulthood and potentially premature heart disease.