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Vincent Iannelli, M.D.

Salt, Sugar, and Child Obesity

By December 12, 2012

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There has been some good news about child obesity recently. After reporting that child obesity rates have been rising year after year, we are finally starting to hear about rates dropping around the country, including New York City, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia.

The declines aren't only in big cities though. Smaller cities, like Anchorage, Alaska and Kearney, Nebraska are also seeing declines in child obesity rates. There is still a lot of work to do to bring the rates down even more in these cities and every where else though, especially since we don't yet know what exactly is responsible for the drops.

A new study that will appear in the January issue of Pediatrics, "Dietary Salt Intake, Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Consumption, and Obesity Risk," offers some guidance on another possible cause for the rise in child obesity and another way to help battle it.

The study found that in addition to drinking sugar-sweetened beverages, dietary salt intake, was also associated with a risk of obesity. Children in the study who eat more salt also drank more fluids, and therefore got more calories if they were drinking sugar-sweetened drinks.

This study offers another good reason for our kids to limit juice and other sugary drinks with calories, avoid foods high in salt, and to not add a lot of extra salt to their foods.

Of course, this is in addition to exercising each day and and sticking to a healthy eating plan to help lose weight or maintain a healthy weight.

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