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Kiddy kidney stones could be a new trend

Submitted by on Tuesday, 28 October 2008 No Comment

I’m aghast. Not that it takes much to make me aghast. I usually find enough material by noon to sail past the government’s recommended daily allowance.

And news about health trends will put me over edge pretty quickly. Especially when children are involved.

Today’s corker: The New York Times reports a rise in kidney stones among children.

There’s no solid data or study yet to quantify it, but some experts across the country say they’re seeing a case a week now. It used to be one every few months.

I haven’t been this aghast since stories last year about an uptick of rickets among American children. The cause: Vitamin D and calcium deficiency. Both shortages are fairly easy to rectify by taking children outside to play and raising them to drink milk. You know, the way we grow up.

Oh, great. Now I’ve crossed from aghast to old fogey. But, dang it, sometimes the old ways are best, though I doubt that “whiskey as a cure for colic” thing would fly today.

Just as with the rickets problem, experts are attributing the kidney stone trend to an easily preventable problem. In this case, it’s salt.

“What we’ve really seen is an increase in the salt load in children’s diet,” Dr. Bruce L. Slaughenhoupt, co-director of pediatric urology and of the pediatric kidney stone clinic at the University of Wisconsin, told The Times.

Slaughenhoupt mentions the obvious sources — French fries and chips — but also brings up sources near and dear to my old fogey heart. Sandwich meats, canned soup and frozen foods.

I’m lucky in a way that Big Guy’s allergies prevent us from eating most of this, though he does have massive love for lunch meat of late. Canned soup is effectively banned, though. If the noodles don’t have egg, the broth probably has garlic.

It’s just as well. Even the Campbell’s lower-sodium chicken noodle has 660 milligrams per half cup. That’s more than 25 percent of the RDA. And who stops at a half cup?

It’s not as if the guys never have potato chips or fries. But I try to keep in mind that old fogey upbringing and make them treats, not staples.

Trying to implement that, though, is challenging in a world awash in treats as business as usual.

We’re a smart nation. Current economic issues aside, we’re a wealthy nation. Why are we bent on killing our kids?

Copyright 2008 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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