A recent study led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that prepackaged food marketed for toddlers exceeded by far the maximum recommended limit, while commercial deserts designed for infants and toddlers, such as snacks, cereal bars and pastries, were added way too much sugar.
For their study, CDC researchers analyzed package information on more than one thousand foods. As a result, the national public health institute recommends that parents read carefully the labels before buying something that may have negative consequences on their young ones’ health.
As background information, the study shows that one in four U.S. toddlers have weight-related problems, while nearly 80 percent of U.S. infants and toddlers eat more salt than the daily recommended dose, which is 1,500 mg.
Excessive intake of salt is linked to high blood pressure even in early years, while too much sugar in diet is the main cause of widespread obesity among children.
We also know that about one in nine children have blood pressure above the normal range for their age, and that sodium, excess sodium, is related to increased blood pressure,”
explained Mary Cogswell, the lead-author of the study and CDC researcher.
Ms. Cogwell also said that the eating too much salt in early years may push the fragile body of children into developing high blood pressure levels that are less likely to normalize during adulthood. Additionally, scientists warned that high blood pressure in childhood will surely lead to heart disease later in life.
The study was based on data collected on 1,000 foods in 2012. So, producers and marketers of infant and toddler food claimed that the CDC study was based on outdated information since meanwhile the industry has introduced healthier choices than those on shelves three years ago.
The Grocery Manufacturers of America, a group that represents the industry, said in a public statement that the findings were inaccurate because they didn’t take into account the most recently developed products, with reduced levels of salt.
The group also said that CDC “could needlessly alarm and confuse busy parents” when trying to make the healthier choices for their children.
The group that released the study replied that although the market partially improved since then their findings are the most recent and comprehensive data on prepackaged foods for infants and toddlers in the U.S.
However, researchers have also some good news – although 7 out of 10 foods for toddlers contained high levels of sodium, while foods designed for both toddlers and infants include excessive amounts of sugar per serving, the majority of foods marketed for infants were low in sodium.
Image Source: Early Years Centre