Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Kidney Stones & Kindergarteners

Kidney stones, once an affliction of the aged, have begun plaguing American children, says a report in today's New York Times. Doctors have seen a significant rise in the number of kids--some as young as 5 years-old--who develop this painful disorder.

What's causing it? The consensus seems to be that it's the much maligned diet of the American kid, which includes a lot of sodium, much more than their little systems seem to be able to handle. From fast food to processed meats to "power drinks" kids these days are ingesting more sodium than ever before. And they're not drinking enough water, say the experts.

The article, by Laurie Tarkan, does a good job explaining the biology of kidney stones and the fix for kids unfortunate enough to develop them. Tarkan also highlights the symptoms, which can be difficult to diagnose in children.

So, Mamas, keep reading those food labels, cook fresh as much as you can, and push that water.


Dawn said...

Oh, I am so happy that my kids are big, big water drinkers! Chips and salsa seems to be our downfall for the sodium in our diet but I try to off set those days with lots of extra water and our daily homemade bread, granola bars, etc... have a lot less soduim than store bought.
Thanks for the reminder to keep those little ones drinking and eating the good stuff!
Speaking of nutrition...
Not sure of the sodium content of most candy bars but just thought I would throw this out there: On Halloween night our kids get a visit from the Great Pumpkin while they are sleeping. They must leave him a "gift" of their Halloween candy to get a gift from him (They get to pick out three peices to eat that night). Last year he gave them art supplies... the good stuff. It is such a great way to get the candy out the door... but have fun with it all.

Meaghan said...

Dawn, that's such a great idea! My little one is still too young to really get the caught up in the candy binge, but yours is an idea to keep in mind for next year!

elancera said...

One wonders if this is actually sodium related at all. Children have been eating chips and drinking Gatorade for decades, and I haven't heard of kindergartner kidney stones before now.

Instead,I'm tempted to speculate about the recent Chinese adulteration of milk with melamine, which has resulted in infants with kidney stones. Could what we're seeing be related to tainted Chinese milk products finding their way into our country?

As I say, this is just speculation. But I don't think we ought to jump to any conclusions without sufficient information -- which we clearly don't have.

But thank you Meaghan for all your thought-provoking material! These are issues for all of us to navigate.

Meaghan said...

Elancera, you're not wrong. It's so frustrating to shop these days; when we purchase something, we have no way of knowing where the ingredients are from! The product might be made someplace "safe," but what of its components? As most of us, I try to feed my family as much fresh food as I can, but of course, processed food still finds its way into our diets, much as I try to limit it.

Geri said...

Meaghan, it seems oxalates contribute to kidney stones. If you're interested you can read this http://www.newrinkles.com/index.php/archive/oxalates/