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Salt, Independent of Calories, May Lead to Teen Obesity

1/17/2015 12:05:54 PM
Research published in February 2014 in Pediatrics suggests that teens who eat large amounts of salt may be more likely to be obese and have higher levels of inflammation—no matter how many calories they consume.
Researchers from the Georgia Prevention Center and the Medical College of Georgia analyzed data from 766 Caucasian and African-American boys and girls ages 14 to 18. Subjects’ body fat was measured by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry, and subcutaneous and visceral abdominal fat tissue was assessed via magnetic resonance imaging. The researchers also tested subjects’ fasting blood samples for leptin, adiponectin, C-reactive protein, tumor necrosis factor-α and intercellular adhesion molecule-1.
Researchers estimated the subjects’ sodium intake using a seven-day, 24-hour dietary recall. The study participants’ average sodium consumption was found to be 3,230 mg per day—equal to the levels adults ingest. The researchers also found that 97 percent of their teen subjects exceeded the American Heart Association’s recommendation of consuming less than 1,500 mg of sodium daily.
The researchers found that the adolescents’ sodium intake was associated with body weight, body mass index, waist circumference, percent body fat, subcutaneous abdominal adipose tissue, leptin and the inflammatory marker – Tumor Necrosis Factor alpha. Salt intake was not associated with visceral adipose tissue, skinfold thickness, adiponectin or C-reactive protein. Overall, salt consumption in adolescents is as high as that of adults and positively associated with obesity.
“The majority of studies in humans show the more food you eat, the more salt you consume, the fatter you are," said lead author Haidong Zhu, MD, PhD. “Our study adjusted for what these young people ate and drank and there was still a correlation between salt intake and obesity.”
Noting that “obesity has a lot of contributing factors, including physical inactivity,” Zhu said she and her fellow researchers think that high sodium intake could be one of those factors.
Source: http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2014/01/28/peds.2013-17…