Eating well is an important part of leading a healthy lifestyle. Your diet can help you maintain a healthy weight and reduce your risk of chronic diseases.
Ontario’s doctors are alarmed at the levels of obesity in patients across our province. Doctors are seeing more patients — of all ages — whose weight negatively impacts their health or will likely have an impact in the future. The increasing weight of Ontario’s children is of particular concern. Children and youth who are overweight or obese are more likely to grow up to be overweight or obese adults and struggle with their weight throughout their lives. Obese patients are more likely to develop:
- type 2 diabetes
- high blood pressure or heart disease
- arthritis or bone and joint problems
- sleep apnea and other breathing problems
- abnormal menstrual cycles
Ontario’s Doctors support patients, partnering with them to help them make positive health care decisions. Speak to your doctor about how you can make healthier choices to improve your wellbeing.
This factsheet will help guide you on healthy eating. It includes how many calories you require based on your age and activity level and how to identify hidden calories.
Download a guide to staying healthy and understanding calories.
Sodium is an essential mineral found in salt and can occur naturally in the foods we eat or be added. A small amount of sodium in our diet is necessary to be healthy. However, many Ontarians are unaware of how much salt is in their food and are surprised to learn that their favourite pre-packaged foods, like frozen pizza, soups and canned vegetables can be very high in sodium. Most importantly, some Ontarians are unaware of the negative effects it can have on their health. High sodium diets are a major risk factor for high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke and kidney disease. Sodium intake has also been associated with a higher risk of stomach cancer, severity of asthma and osteoporosis.
Although a sprinkling of salt in the kitchen or at the dinner table is the most visible source of salt in our diets, it provides a very small proportion of our total salt intake. 1 teaspoon or 2300 mg of common table salt is the upper accepted limit of sodium that is considered healthy. This is significantly higher than the 1.5 teaspoons or 3400 mg that the average Canadian consumes daily.
With greater awareness and better understanding of salt, sodium, and possible health effects, patients have the tools to make more informed, healthier food choices. If you have an existing heart-related illness and want to learn more about sodium and your daily intake, or you are concerned that the sodium in your diet is affecting your health, make an appointment to talk to your family doctor.
Measuring sodium intake
Your daily intake of sodium depends on a variety of factors, such as age or if you are pregnant. Below you can find the right number of sodium for you based on Health Canada’s recommendations.
|Age||Adequate intake of sodium||Healthy amount of sodium intake without going over the Upper Limit|
|Infants 0-6 months||120 mg/day||No data|
|Infants 7-12 months||370 mg/day||No data|
|Children 1-3 years||1000 mg/day||1500 mg/day|
|Children 4-8 years||1200 mg/day||1900 mg/day|
|Teens 9-13 years||1500 mg/day||2200 mg/day|
|Adults 14-50 years||1500 mg/day||2300 mg/day|
|Older adults 51-70 years||1300 mg/day||2300 mg/day|
|Older adults over 70 years||1200 mg/day||2300 mg/day|
|Pregnancy||1500 mg/day||2300 mg/day|
|Adequate intake of sodium|
|Infants 0-6 months||120 mg/day|
|Infants 7-12 months||370 mg/day|
|Children 1-3 years||1000 mg/day|
|Children 4-8 years||1200 mg/day|
|Teens 9-13 years||1500 mg/day|
|Adults 14-50 years||1500 mg/day|
|Older adults 51-70 years||1300 mg/day|
|Older adults over 70 years||1200 mg/day|
|Healthy amount of sodium intake without going over the Upper Limit|
|Infants 0-6 months||No data|
|Infants 7-12 months||No data|
|Children 1-3 years||1500 mg/day|
|Children 4-8 years||1900 mg/day|
|Teens 9-13 years||2200 mg/day|
|Adults 14-50 years||2300 mg/day|
|Older adults 51-70 years||2300 mg/day|
|Older adults over 70 years||2300 mg/day|
Source: Health Canada: Sodium in Canada
If you would like a copy of this information to take with you or display, we encourage you to take a look at the resource below.
Download a factsheet on hidden salt and your health.