A US study has claimed that children in the country aged between 8 and 18 are consuming almost the same amount of sodium as adults each day.

The research, published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), found that average sodium consumption levels among children aged between 8 and 18 are almost double the 1,500mg limit recommended by the American Heart Association. The Institute of Medicine recommends a maximum intake for adults of less than 2,300mg.

The children studied were part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) carried out between 2003 and 2008, which covered more than 6,200 children and adolescents. The research also showed that 37% of the respondents were either overweight or obese, and that 15% had either high blood pressure or slightly elevated blood pressure. It also found that boys consumed more sodium and calories than girls.

The CDC study found that the risk for high blood pressure among overweight and obese youths rose by 74% for every 1,000mg of increased daily sodium intake.

The American Heart Association (AHA) said the CDC underlined the need to move faster on improving children’s dietary health.

“It’s very disturbing that this nation’s children and teens consume too much salt in their diets at school and home. High blood pressure, once viewed as an adult illness is now affecting more young people because of high sodium diets and increasing obesity,” said American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown.

“While new nutrition standards for school meals are helping, progress is slow. This study strongly underscores the need to move faster because our kids are on an early path to heart attacks and strokes.”