Ready-to-eat foods for toddlers packed with salt, study says
They may be fast, convenient and fun, but most pre-packaged foods contain far too much salt and put kids’ health at risk, a recent study has found.
Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) compared the sodium levels, per serving, for 1,115 products marketed to both babies and toddlers. Almost 75 percent of pre-packaged foods for toddlers on the U.S. market are high in sodium, they found.
Baby food was defined as food intended for kids under age one and toddler food as intended for children between the ages of one and three. The baby foods fared better overall.
Scientists declared products high in sodium if they had more than 210 mg per serving. Some toddler meals contained as much as 630 mg per serving, which is nearly 40 percent of the 1,500 mg daily limit recommended by the American Heart Association.
The findings are alarming, say study leaders, and put children in jeopardy.
“Our concern is the possible long-term health risks of introducing high levels of sodium in a child’s diet,” said lead author Joyce Maalouf, of the CDC, in a statement. “Because high blood pressure, as well as a preference for salty foods may develop early in life.”
“Children are too young to make healthy choices, so it’s really up to us to choose wisely for them,” he says. “Parents need to closely check the nutrition labels on the packaged foods and keep salt intake to a minimum.”
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