Sodium levels high in children’s snacks, say scientists

Washington, March 22 (IANS) Researchers have revealed that around 75 percent of snacks targeted at children have a high sodium content that could increase the possibility of long-term health risks, says a study.

Nearly 75 percent of commercial pre-packaged meals and savoury snacks for toddlers are high in sodium, according to research presented at the American Heart Association’s Epidemiology and Prevention/Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism 2013 Scientific Sessions.
In the first study to look at the sodium content in baby and toddler foods in the US, researchers compared the sodium content per serving of 1,115 products for babies and toddlers using data on major and private label brands compiled by the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
Baby food was categorised as intended for children less than one year old, and toddler food was categorised as intended for children between the ages of one and three, reports Science Daily.
“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,” said Joyce Maalouf, 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.
Consuming excessive amounts of sodium has been linked to the development of high blood pressure in scientific studies.
“Parents and other caregivers can read the nutrition facts labels on baby and toddler foods to choose the healthiest options for their child,” Maalouf said.