A new study reveals that Canadian children are consuming shockingly high amounts of salt thanks to kids’ meals at fast food chains.
The salt meal survey was conducted by World Action on Salt and Health (WASH) and looked at 163 popular kids’ meals around the world. The study revealed that kids’ meals in Canada contain a higher amount of salt than the same meal in a different country.
For instance, the Kids' Meal at KFC is one of Canada’s saltiest. The combo, which consists of popcorn chicken (or equivalent) and fries, contains 2.60 grams of salt. By comparison. the same KFC meal in the UK only contains 0.90 grams.
Overall, the survey found that over half of kids’ meals in Canada contain more than one gram of salt. To put this number in perspective, Health Canada recommends that children between the ages of four and eight should not consume more than 1.9 grams of salt per day.
As a result of the survey, WASH chairman Graham MacGregor is now warning about the effects of consuming too much salt. “The more salt you eat as a child, the more likely you are to have serious health issues in later life,” MacGregor said. “That is why it is vitally important that children do not get used to the taste of salt.”
According to Health Canada, too much sodium intake is associated with high blood pressure, cardiac damage, risk of stomach cancer and severity of asthma.
Clare Farrand, a nutritionist with WASH, hopes this new study will encourage fast food places to reduce the amount of salt in their meals. “The fact that these fast food chains are able to produce less salty children's meals in some countries means they can do the same in all countries, and should immediately,” she said.
“All children, regardless of where they are from, should be able to enjoy the occasional meal out, as a treat, without putting their health at risk.”