Wednesday 20 June 2018

When children watched online video they were less likely to add salt to their food - study

Just five weeks after completing the five-week online programme, children were 19pc less likely to add salt to their food when a shaker was on the dinner table. Stock photo: Deposit photos
Just five weeks after completing the five-week online programme, children were 19pc less likely to add salt to their food when a shaker was on the dinner table. Stock photo: Deposit photos
Geraldine Gittens

Geraldine Gittens

When children watched web-based educational games that included talking cartoon pizzas and broccoli, they were less likely to add salt to their food, a study in Australia found.

Salt is linked to high blood pressure especially as people age, which has been linked to heart attacks, stroke, kidney disease and dementia.

Irish people, young and old, are eating too much salt, according to the Irish Heart Foundation says. School children should eat less than four grams per day and younger children should eat only the minimum amount of salt.

But just one bowl of some cereals contains the same amount of salt as one cup of seawater.

In this latest study, children took part in 20-minute lessons which included cartoons and interactive games that encouraged them to stop adding salt to their food, check food labels and swap salty snacks for healthier alternatives.

And just five weeks after completing the five-week online programme, children were 19 per cent less likely to add salt to their food when a salt shaker was on the dinner table.

They were also around 25 per cent less likely to ask for the salt shaker when it was not on the table, the Australian research found.

Lead author Dr Carley Grimes, from Deakin University, Victoria, said: "There is good evidence showing that eating too much salt during childhood can raise children's blood pressure, which can in turn increase the risk of high blood pressure as an adult.  Also, children can become accustomed to the taste of highly salted foods so it is important that we have strategies in place to limit the exposure of salt in the diet in early life."

"Feeling empowered to make nutrition-related decisions is particularly important in shaping children's behaviours."

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