Too Much Salt, Sugar in Toddler Food

Some packaged meals and snacks for toddlers contain concerning amounts of additional salt and sugar that could contribute to an early appetite for unhealthy foods that lead to obesity, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study published Monday. The study probed labels on more than 1,000 foods marketed for young children, and found that about seven in 10 meals examined contained extra salt while most cereal bars, breakfast pastries, and other snacks for toddlers contained additional sugar. The CDC urges parents to carefully read food labels and look for healthier alternatives, pointing out that one in four U.S. kids ages 2 to 5 are overweight or obese while nearly 80 percent of children age 1 to 3 exceed the recommended level of daily salt. Researchers collected data on food items available in 2012, but insist their data is the most recent available on commercial foods for young children. The Grocery Manufacturers of America trade group, which includes makers of toddler food, issued a statement that said the study “does not accurately reflect the wide range of healthy choices available in today’s marketplace.”