A new study finds that nearly 75% of pre-packaged meals and snacks for toddlers have too much salt. It's added as a preservative and for flavor.
Researchers looked at the sodium in more than 1,000 foods for babies and toddlers. A product was considered high in salt if it had more than 210 milligrams of sodium per serving, or 14% of the daily recommended allowance.
"The effect is probably cumulative over time where the longer you have that increased sodium level coming in, the more likely you'll end up with hypertension as an adult," says Dr. Suzanne Kaseta.
A big concern is children who eat a high sodium diet may develop a lifelong preference for salty foods. As adults, another study finds most people eat almost double the recommended daily amount of sodium. The American Heart Association says adults should have less than 1,500 milligrams of sodium per day. The average American consumes 3,600 milligrams. Researchers in a third study found eating too much salt contributed to 2.3 million deaths worldwide in 2010 from heart-related diseases. Almost have were people 69 or younger.