Teen salt intake could affect future health

LOS ANGELES U.S. dietary guidelines say most people should eat no more than 2.3 grams of sodium a day.

But most Americans eat much more -- almost four grams. And adolescents consume more salt each day -- more than 9 grams -- than any other age group.

Using a computer model, a new study presented to the American Heart Association looked at the long-term effects of cutting that intake by one-third among adolescents.

Researchers project that getting an early start on reducing salt consumption pays off later in life.

They say if teenagers eat less sodium, their risk of high blood pressure would fall by up to 63 percent, heart disease by 12 percent, heart attack by 14 percent, stroke by 8 percent and premature death by 9 percent.

The authors of the study call for reducing salt in processed foods, which account for most salt consumption.

They conclude that cutting down on salt when you're young will improve your health as you grow old.

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