Recently, thousands of babies and children in China who drank milk tainted with melamine were sickened, and many developed painful kidney stones.
While these cases were due to the melamine a toxic chemical used to thin out milk doctors here say they are seeing a rise in the number of children suffering from kidney stones, once a condition mostly associated with middle age, according to the New York Times.
And what is one of the major causes? Salt.
Research has shown that dietary factors are the leading cause of kidney stones.
Kidney stones are the result of several substances crystallizing in urine, and the article explains that 40 to 60 percent of kidney stones form when oxalate, a by-product of certain foods, binds to calcium in the urine. The two biggest risk factors for this are not drinking enough water and eating too much salt. Both of these things increase the amount of calcium and oxalate in the urine.
Dr. Bruce L. Slaughenhoupt, co-director of pediatric urology and of the pediatric kidney stone clinic at the University of Wisconsin, is quoted in the article: "What weve really seen is an increase in the salt load in childrens diet." He referred to kids' dietary staples such as processed foods including sandwich meats, canned soups, and sports drinks.
Kids don't drink enough water and the rise in obesity is contributing to the problem as well. Some suggest that sucrose, found in sodas, and high-protein weight-loss diets can both increase the risk of stones, according to the article.
About half of children with kidney stones have a family history of the disease. Dr. Caleb P. Nelson, a urology instructor at Harvard Medical School, said in the article: If you have a family history, its important to recognize your kids are at risk at some point in their life. That means instilling lifelong habits of good hydration, balanced diet, and avoiding processed high-salt, high-fat foods.
Good advice, since we already know climate change will increase our risk for kidney stones.
Enter your city or zip code to get your local temperature and air quality and find local green food and recycling resources near you.