A fast-food hamburger contains about 750 to 800 milligrams of sodium -- half of a young child's daily limit.
Children who eat less salt consume fewer sugar-sweetened soft drinks and may significantly lower their risks for obesity, elevated blood pressure and later-in-life heart attack and stroke, according to a study in Hypertension: Journal of the American Heart Association from February 2008.
How can you reduce the amount of salt in your kids' diet?
Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN chief medical correspondent: It's really important to reduce the amount of sodium because it does make a difference. These researchers said that cutting kid's salt intake by half -- that's about three grams -- has the effect of reducing soda intake by two soft drinks per week.
Let me give you some examples of how to do that: Staying away from fast food such as pizza, hamburgers and hot dogs is a good idea because these foods are high in sodium. A fast-food hamburger contains about 750 to 800 milligrams of sodium, or about half of what a young child should get on a daily basis, and that's just one sandwich. Keep them in moderation and certainly don't sprinkle any more salt on them. There are also lots of low-sodium alternatives to products that tend to contain a lot of salt -- soup and cheese, for example. Fresh fruits and vegetables are always a good way of getting nutrition without salt.
What's the deal with salt?
Gupta: Study author Dr. Graham MacGregor said that salt isn't really used as a preservative any more, and the amount of salt contained in processed foods is much higher than we need in our diets.
Is soda bad for you?
Gupta: Soda is associated with a number of health issues. For each additional drink per day, a child is 1.6 times more likely to develop obesity later in life. Studies have also suggested a link between soda and osteoporosis.
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