The current average daily intake of sodium by American teens is 9 grams, a whopping seven times the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of 1.5 grams, according to a recent study, funded by the American Heart Association.

Teenagers’ high salt intake can be attributed to excess consumption of soda, cereals, breads, pastries and processed meats, among others. Research also indicates that today’s youth commonly add table salt to foods eaten at home.

If you’re able to reduce your teen’s salt intake from 9 grams to 6 grams (still far more than the RDA) it could mean important health differences by the time your child reaches age 50, according to the study.

Potential differences include:

  • 7-10% reduction in coronary artery disease (a precursor of heart attack)
  • 8-14% reduction in heart attack
  • 5-8% reduction in stroke
  • 5-9% reduction in death, by any cause

So, talk to your teen about the many reasons to cut salt, take the salt shaker off your dining table, and model good eating habits yourself by considering your own salt intake.  It might just help your entire family live longer, healthier lives.