Perhaps we’re not giving our toddlers the best start

By 11. April 2016Blog

So say the findings of a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition.

Researchers from the UK looked at the diet data collected from 2336 children aged 21 months between 2008 and 2009. They found that compared to the UK dietary reference values (a list of recommended nutritional intakes published by the UK Department of Health), the toddlers had higher energy intake, protein and most micronutrients except for vitamin D and iron.

The higher energy intake can lead to obesity, iron deficiency can lead to a lack of red blood cells and vitamin D is needed for strong teeth and bones.

They also found high sodium intakes. This can be dangerous as your personal tastes are set around this age. Although a higher salt intake might not be so bad in children, having a high amount of sodium in your diet later in life can cause high blood pressure.

These results were also compared to those from a similar study called the National Diet and Nutrition Survey and the results were comparable.

So what can you do? If using baby food ensure the sodium levels are not too high, give them more iron rich foods such as brown rice, nuts and seeds and eggs. Eggs are also a good source of vitamin D as is fatty fish, mushrooms and cheese.

The authors recommend that parents are given more guidance on how to achieve healthy energy and nutrient intakes for young children.

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