London: Health experts in Britain have warned that the processed foods and sauces at the heart of the nation's diet are actually fuelling a dangerous daily overdose of salt and putting children's health at risk.

Children are routinely eating too much salt, risking ill health and a shorter life. Typical amounts are at least 50 percent more than the recommended daily maximum but some consume almost double.

High salt consumption pushes up blood pressure, which in the long term can lead to strokes and heart attacks. These are the country's biggest causes of death and disability, a website reported.

For their study, health campaigners took two typical daily menus enjoyed by many children. They calculated the salt content to be 9.3g to 9.6g.

However, for a child in the age group of seven to ten, the recommended maximum dose is just 5g.

Eating 9.6g of salt in a day would be 92 percent above this dose- nearly double.

Safe daily dose of salt vary depending on age and size, starting at one gram or less for babies. If the entire nation cuts down to these levels, doctors estimate that 70,000 heart attacks and strokes would be prevented in just one year!

Katharine Jenner of the Consensus Action on Salt and Health, which has been campaigning for food manufacturers and supermarkets to remove hidden salt, said, "Popular foods like bread, cereal, baked beans, cheese, tomato sauce and processed meats are some of the biggest culprits. So try not to feed your child them every day.”

She said, "The higher the blood pressure in childhood, the higher the blood pressure will be in adulthood... By getting your child used to less salt, you are protecting their health in the long term."

(Agencies)