Health

Salt, Sugar, and Fat Are the Biggest Health Threat to Kids. Anyone Listening?

Sweets and processed foods are a part of life. They're also no small part of the reason 42% of adults and 18.5% of kids have obesity. How do parents draw the line?

Getting children to eat less sugar, salt, and fat is a battle worth waging. Treats, by definition, should be something that kids get every once and a while — a sweet, decadent break from a diet filled with fruits and vegetables. If you’ve laughed at this sentence, you’re not alone. Just look at the American Heart Association recommendation versus the realities of what kids eat:

AHA Sugar Recommendation: Kids under age 2 shouldn’t eat any added sugar. Children 2 to 18 should limit added sugar to 25 grams per day.

The Sugary Reality: Toddlers eat an average of more than 29 grams of sugar per day. The average American child eats 79 grams.

AHA Salt Recommendation: The American Heart Association recommends that both children and adults eat less than 1,500 mg of sodium per day.

The Salty Truth: Children ages 2-19 seat an average of more than 3,100 mg of sodium per day. That’s more than double the recommended amount.

AHA Fat Recommendation: Fat should account for 30 to 35 percent of daily calories for kids aged 2-3, and 25 to 35 percent for kids aged 4-18. What you really want to watch out for are saturated fats and trans fats. Any amount of trans fat is harmful.

The Fatty Facts: It’s unclear how much fat the average child eats on a daily basis. However, if your child is eating fried foods or baked goods on a regular basis, they’re probably getting too much trans fat.

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