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Salt intake linked to childhood obesity

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Lauren Eisen offers healthy options to her sons when she can. That includes keeping salt to a limit in the foods they eat.

"It's not the main ingredient or the main focus and they certainly don't dump salt on what I serve. I try to season it myself, so I'm in control of it," Eisen said.

New research shows cutting back on salty foods such as french fries and chips, could help in the battle against childhood obesity. Researchers looked at more than four thousand children in Australia and found those who ate more salt drank more fluids -- in particular more sugar-sweetened beverages.

"It seems intuitive that children who eat a lot of food with salt are then going to be thirsty. So if their beverage of choice is a sugar-sweetened beverage, then that's going to increase their total caloric intake," said Dr. Alanna Levine, Contributer for BabyCenter.com.

Kids who drank more than one daily serving of soda, fruit drinks or energy drinks were 26 percent more likely to be overweight or obese.

Pediatricians say parents need to read labels to make sure they're keeping a close eye on the amount of salt and sugar kids are getting and they also need to be good role models.

"Parents shouldn't be drinking sugary-sweet soda and expect their children to drink water,"  Dr. Levine said. "We really want to guide our children to healthier beverage choices -- like water, like milk.

That's what Lauren Eisen is doing. "We mostly have in our house water and milk and then sometimes my kids are very active, they both play soccer and they do like sports drinks, but we
make sure it's the low sugar variety and no soda," she said.

Trying to create healthy habits she hopes will last a lifetime.

Ines Ferre - CBS News

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