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Baby and Toddler Food Warning Every Parent Needs to Know

Tim Boyer's picture
Baby eating

According to recent research, parents concerned about their baby’s or toddler’s health need to know that what is printed on the label of baby and toddler commercial pre-packaged meals and snacks should be the most important consideration before choosing that product for their child.

In research presented at the American Heart Association's Epidemiology and Prevention/Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism 2013 Scientific Sessions, researchers reveal the startling finding that nearly 75% of all commercial pre-packaged meals and savory snacks marketed for babies and toddlers are up to 3 times higher in salt content than that recommended for adults daily.

According to a new release by the American Heart Association, this is the first time a study has been done that evaluates the salt content of over 1,000 baby and toddler food products—including popular, name brand food items.

The health officials reported that the amount of salt in toddler meals are typically greater than that found in baby foods with the highest salt content reaching as high as 630 grams of salt per serving. Savory snacks and meals for toddlers were the biggest dietary offenders. A salt content of 210 grams or more per serving is categorized as “high in sodium” with a recommended daily allowance of 1,500 mg by the American Heart Association.

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"Our concern is the possible long-term health risks of introducing high levels of sodium in a child's diet, because high blood pressure, as well as a preference for salty foods may develop early in life. The less sodium in an infant's or toddler's diet, the less he or she may want it when older," states Joyce Maalouf, M.S., M.P.H., ORISE, lead author and Fellow at the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia.

"Parents and other caregivers can read the nutrition facts labels on baby and toddler foods, to choose the healthiest options for their child," says Maalouf.

This same advice applies to older preschool children as well. A recent online check at the website calorieking.com reveals that the popular “Lunchables” series of meals that too-busy parents often stuff into their kids’ lunch boxes shows that the prepackaged “Oscar Mayer Turkey & Cheddar Cheese Lunchables with Crackers” packs a whopping 910 mg of sodium!

For an informative article about salt awareness, follow the link titled “Top 10 Salty Foods To Avoid in Your Diet” for additional useful health information.

American Heart Association