Health and Medical Research Assignment
This program is aiming to assess the daily intake of sodium in children of age range 5-12 years and provide recommendations to reduce the intake and negative impact associated with it. This program would be promoting a healthier diet and balanced nutrition in school meals because processed food products are one of the major sources of dietary sodium for school going children. This project would be named as:- “ sodium intake and management in young age students and reducing their sodium intake in lunches by at least 50 percent. Specific goal of this program is to reduce the sodium intake without making an impact on taste of the food and quality by 50 percent in a period of 6 months (Department of Health and Ageing, 2008).
Sodium intake is a growing concern among government, health department and nutritional experts in young population of Australia. According to the data released by child nutrition and physical activity survey an average male child in age range of 5 -12 year is consuming 3196 mgs of sodium daily which is almost 300 percent more than daily requirement. In females this quantity is slightly less than male child but still is much higher than required (2694 mg per day). Highest consumption seen in children of age range 14-18 years is almost as high as 3700 mg per day. These data are the average of entire sample from different territories, states and regions and none of the sample came remotely close to the required daily consumption (National Health and Medical Research Council, 2008).
Main dietary source of sodium for a child are vegetables, meat, eggs, milk, fibres and processed food (fast food products mainly). Food products with preservative in it are also a important source of sodium in diet. Table salt is sodium chloride which is used by some people as an additional part of their meal thus further enhancing their sodium intake. In national health surveys of Australia table salt was not included in assessing the daily intake of sodium in a person. There are certain alternative sources of sodium as well in diet like sodium bicarbonate, preservative salts, saccharin etc which are consumed regularly with fast food products and packaged food (Kotch, 2012).
It is very important to reduce the quantity of sodium in diet because a higher level of sodium would lead towards increase in fluid retention in human body thus causing a pressure on the blood vessels and increasing blood pressure. There is also significant pressure on kidney because of higher fluid level and it would eventually deteriorate the filtration capacity of the Nephrons. Kidney stones are also known to be occurring with a higher prevalence in people who consume higher quantities of salt.
Another problem associated with higher sodium intake is increased probability of stroke and other heart diseases because of increased blood pressure. Considering all the facts and negative effects of sodium in excessive quantities it is prudent and pre emptive measure to reduce this quantity of sodium intake and diet and keep entire diet balanced. This program would aim to reduce the intake by making dietary modifications and encouraging children for a healthier and less sodium containing option (Barr, 2010).
- Department of Health and Ageing (2008) National Children’s Nutrition and Physical Activity User Guide. Canberra: AGPS; 2008 (1) 1 p 12-125
- National Health and Medical Research Council (2008) Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand. Including Recommended Dietary Intakes. Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia (1) 1 p. 23-176
- Barr, S. (2010) FNH 471 Human Nutrition Over the Life Span. Course Notes, Fall. University of British Columbia
- Kotch, J. (2012) Maternal And Child Health. Jones & Bartlett Learning, 3 Edition. Pp. 34-87 Order Now