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Dietary Salt

Volume 406: debated on Friday 23 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health what research he has evaluated on possible links between high levels of salt in pre-prepared food and heart disease in children under 10. [113401]

A Sub-Group of the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACIN), an independent United Kingdom-wide advisory committee set up to advise both the Department of Health and the Food Standards Agency, recently considered the effects of salt on health, in both children and adults.The SACN report on Salt and Health (2003) concluded that,

"Further research is needed to assess the level of salt in children"s diets, which may influence blood pressure [a risk factor for heart disease] independently of other factors. Nevertheless it would be inadvisable for children in the UK to become accustomed to the levels of salt intake currently habitual for adults as the evidence suggests long-term consumption of such amounts being potentially harmful in adult life".

The SACN therefore made recommendations for daily target average salt intakes in children.