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Preference for High Salt Concentrations Among Children

 

   Preference for salt (NaCI) in young children was examined in 2 experiments. In Experiment 1, 2 groups of 14 Black children were given paired-comparison tests with salted soups ranging between 0 and 1.8-M NaC1. Children tended to prefer higher salt concentrations than is typical for adults, but the range of salt concentrations used in testing influenced the distribution of children's preferred salt levels. Experiment 2 directly compared children with their parents, eliminated range effects through a preference-tracking procedure based on the paired-comparison technique, and compared Black and White children's preferences. Children (n = 58) again preferred higher levels ofsalt than did adults (n = 30). No differences between White and Black children were evident, nor was there an indication that degree of salt exposure determined expressed preferences. It appears that children exhibit maximal preference for more concentrated salty, as well as sweet, liquids than do adults. The basis for this age-related difference is not currently understood.

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