Wednesday, February 24, 2016


Image result for picture of heart

“Blood pressure tends to rise with age.  About 65 percent of Americans age 60 or older have high blood pressure.  However, the risk for prehypertension and high blood pressure is increasing for children and teens, possibly due to the rise in the number of overweight children and teens.”  

                                                                   ---National Institutes of Health

February is American Heart Month.  Did you know that kids age 3 and older should be screened for high blood pressure?  Did you know that being obese is one of the risk factors for high blood pressure?  Have you talked with your children’s pediatrician yet? 

According to the National Institutes of Health, prevention and treatment of high blood pressure involves the following:
  • Healthy eating
  • Being physically active
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Limiting alcohol intake
  • Managing and coping with stress
Buried in the “healthy eating” message is the advice to limit sodium intake to no more than 2,300 mg a day or lower for individuals age 14 and older.   Nine out of ten kids consume too much sodium, most of it from processed foods.  

Consider the fact that 1/4 teaspoon of salt contains 590 mg of sodium.   Sodium is the elephant in the room.  The fact is that the more salt you eat, the high your blood pressure will be.  Salt is everywhere, hidden in processed foods.  Restaurant foods are loaded with it. We talk about reading food labels and estimating portion sizes but the fact is most parents have no idea how much sodium their children actually consume. 

Next time you see a recommendation for “healthy eating,”think about salt.  Increase your awareness of the foods that are salt mines.  Some foods that are hidden sources of large amounts include hot dogs, prepared macaroni and cheese, ketchup, and canned soups.  Many of these contain more than a day’s recommended amount in one or two servings.  Eating dangerously high levels every day, combined with being overweight or obese, is a recipe for high blood pressure. 

Protect your children’s health and their hearts.  Learn about high blood pressure.  Read food labels to become aware of all the foods your children are eating that contain obscene amounts of sodium.  

Make sure your children are being screened by their pediatrician.  To learn more about high blood pressure from National Institutes of Health, click here

In gratitude,
Nancy Heinrich

Founder, Growing Healthy Kids, Inc.