Teens gain weight from excessive salt intake, study says

Augusta, GA – Consuming too much sodium – regardless of calorie intake – may cause obesity and inflammation in young people, suggests a study from the Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University.

Researchers studied 766 healthy teens – 97 percent of whom were found to consume excessive amounts of sodium. The average daily intake was 3,280 milligrams a day – more than twice the limit of 1,500 milligrams recommended by the American Heart Association, according to the study abstract.

Teens with high sodium consumption had increased levels of a substance in the body linked with inflammation and autoimmune diseases such as lupus, as well as elevated amounts of a hormone that helps burn fat at normal levels but increases appetite at high levels.

To cut down on sodium intake, researchers recommended tasting food before adding table salt and eating fresh fruits and vegetables instead of processed meats and snacks.

The study was published online Feb. 2 in the journal Pediatrics.