Abstract P253: Sodium Content of Commercial Baby and Toddler Foods
Introduction: Excess sodium intake is directly related to high blood pressure. In light of the high dietary sodium intake of U.S. children, some studies suggesting the early establishment of salt taste preference and a growing number of commercial baby and toddler foods marketed to parents and caregivers, it is important to assess the sodium content of these products. To our knowledge, no recent studies exist on the sodium content of U.S. commercial baby and toddler foods. The objective of this analysis is to determine the sodium content of commercial baby and toddler foods sold in the U.S. Results will establish a baseline of sodium content of these foods and help identify categories of concern because of higher sodium content.
Methods: Gladson database was used to identify major brands of baby and toddler food products. Nutrition information from manufacturer website and grocery stores (for private label products) was used to develop the database. A total of 572 food products were coded and categorized according to the main ingredient and food categories commonly used in the literature (Table). Serving sizes were converted to their Reference Amount Customarily Consumed (RACC). Mean sodium content was computed per RACC, calories (Kcal) and 100g of food. Food products were assessed for high sodium content (>210 mg/RACC) defined using the IOM dietary reference intakes for sodium for children aged 1-3 years and myPlate recommendations for children aged 2-3 years.
Results: The mean sodium content of baby and toddler foods ranged from 6.4 mg/RACC in mixed grains and fruits to 284 mg/RACC in toddler meals. Over half of the toddler meals (62%) (47 of 76) exceeded 210 mg/RACC, while some contained as much as 530mg/RAAC. Average sodium density was ≥ 2 mg/kcal for toddler meals and snacks (Table).
Conclusions: Toddler meals and savory snacks had the highest sodium content. Ongoing monitoring of these products would inform if the content changes overtime. Parents and caregivers can read nutrition labels and select lower sodium products.
- © 2013 by American Heart Association, Inc.