A new study by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has found that several packaged snacks and meals for infants contain concerning amounts of sugar and salt that may lead to obesity and other serious health risks.
The researchers at the CDC looked at the labels and package information for over 1,000 foods meant only for infants and toddlers. Notably, the health experts also recommend the parents to read food labels and other package information carefully while selecting the healthier choices for their baby.
For the study, the researchers gathered data on foods that were available in 2012. List of brand names were not included in the study, but the researchers indicated that the foods analysed in the study included popular baby food brands as well as toddler dinners that included packaged cheese, macaroni, mini hot dogs, rice cakes, crackers, yogurt treats and dried fruit snacks.
The researchers’ team found that nearly seven in ten toddler dinners contained too much salt. On the other hand, the food and snacks for toddlers and infants contained extra amount of sugars.
Lead study author and CDC health expert Mary Cogswell said, “As we know that nearly one in nine children have blood pressure above the normal range for their age, and that sodium, excess sodium, is linked with increased blood pressure.”
“Eating foods which are high in sodium can set a child up for high blood pressure and later on for cardiovascular disease,” Cogswell added.
In the study, the researchers noted that roughly one in four American children between age group two to five are obese or overweight. Around 80 percent of kids in the age group one to three exceed the prescribed maximum level of daily salt, i.e. 1,500 milligrams.
Excess salt and sugar can trigger the problem of obesity and elevated blood pressure in childhood, and also later on.
The findings were published on Monday in the journal Pediatrics.