Juvenile kidney stones and dangers of hidden salt in foods

Articles
April 03, 2009

Juvenile kidney stones and dangers of hidden salt in foods

There’s no visible end to efforts to feed kids properly. Moms pack fruit instead of cookies in their children’s lunchboxes. Parents scrutinize labels on packaged foods to eliminate trans fats. Some schools have banned cupcakes for students’ birthday parties. A Federal initiative is underway. These are a few glimpses of our hovering protectiveness. We realize that kids pay the price in health when they don’t eat properly. Now comes suspicion in the medical community of a higher incidence of kidney stones in children—the possible outcome of too much salt in their diet. Fast foods are likely culprits, but so are many popular soups, sauces, processed foods and desserts that are sold in center-store aisles.

There’s no visible end to efforts to feed kids properly.  Moms pack fruit instead of cookies in their children’s lunchboxes.  Parents scrutinize labels on packaged foods to eliminate trans fats. Some schools have banned cupcakes for students’ birthday parties. A Federal initiative is underway. These are a few glimpses of our hovering protectiveness.

We realize that kids pay the price in health when they don’t eat properly.  Now comes suspicion in the medical community of a higher incidence of kidney stones in children—the possible outcome of too much salt in their diet.  Fast foods are likely culprits, but so are many popular soups, sauces, processed foods and desserts that are sold in center-store aisles.

Hidden sources pose threats too. Our website reported on one yesterday: the injection of salt water into many case-ready meats to add plumpness, tenderness, and appear fresh longer. These injections can mean an average serving of chicken could have more sodium than a large order of French fries, or more than 25% of the daily recommended allowance. Even if the meat bears a  ‘natural’ label, it could still contain these injections. This practice is hideous, in our opinion at SupermarketGuru.com. It undermines our watchfulness, and threatens the wellness of kids, as well as adults afflicted by serious health conditions.

How visible is the trend toward juvenile kidney stones? Suffering children have been “turning up in rising numbers at hospitals around the country,” according to The Associated Press. Their account cited a 2007 study in the Journal of Urology, where the number of children with kidney stones brought to North Shore-Long Island Jewish Medical Center climbed fivefold between 1994 and 2005, to 61 youngsters in 2005. Other hospitals around the country reported exponential climbs even more recently.

Dr. Uri Alon, director of the bone and mineral disorders clinic at Children’s Mercy Hospital, Kansas City, told AP that most stones in children are calcium-based (eating excess salt can create excess calcium in urine), and children are susceptible because of the way they eat and drink too little water. He is studying whether better nutrition can prevent kidney stones in kids.

We urge full disclosure of sodium in foods and beverages because the health risks are far too great. When responsible parents want to fit an occasional ‘treat meal’ into their children’s diet, they should be able to do so knowing they’ve properly calculated the amount of sodium, sugars and fats their kids have already consumed.