1041 GMT October 31, 2020
About seven in 10 toddler dinners studied contained too much salt, and most cereal bars, breakfast pastries and snacks for infants and toddlers contained extra sugars, according to the study by researchers at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They advise parents to read food labels carefully and select healthier choices, washingtonpost.com said.
The researchers analyzed package information and labels for more than 1,000 foods marketed for infants and toddlers.
The study notes that almost one in four US children ages 2 to 5 are overweight or obese — and that almost 80 percent of kids ages 1 to 3 exceed the recommended maximum level of daily salt, which is 1,500 milligrams. Excess sugar and salt can contribute to obesity and elevated blood pressure even in childhood, but also later on.
"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," said the CDC's Mary Cogswell, the study's lead author. "Blood pressure tracks from when children are young up through adolescence into when they're adults. Eating foods which are high in sodium, can set a child up for high blood pressure and later on for cardiovascular disease."
The study "could needlessly alarm and confuse busy parents as they strive to develop suitable meal options that their children will enjoy," the group said.