About a quarter of all U.S. children ages 2 to 5 are overweight or obese, while nearly 80 percent of kids ages 1 to 3 have too much salt in their daily diet. Those are some of the revelations in a new government study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to the Washington Post.
The Post reports the study found 7 in 10 toddler dinners contained too much salt, while most cereal bars, breakfast pastries and snacks for infants and toddlers had added sugars. As the newspaper points out, "Excess sugar and salt can contribute to obesity and elevated blood pressure early as childhood, but also later in life."
The added sugars in the tested food included high-fructose corn syrup, dextrose and glucose, which all increase calorie counts without any added health benefits. As for extra sodium, it's linked to increased blood pressure.
Data for the study comes from foods available in 2012. Though no specific names were mentioned, it did note that popular brands of macaroni and cheese, mini hot dogs, rice cakes, crackers, dried-fruit snacks and yogurt treats were tested.
One positive discovery from the study was that the majority of infant foods were low in sodium, which was surprising considering that "7 out of 10 toddler foods were high in the amount of sodium per serving," the study's lead author, Mary Cogswell of the CDC, told the Post.
The full CDC study is being published in the journal Pediatrics. Its researchers advise parents to closely read the labels on their children's food and make healthier choices before getting in the checkout line at the grocery store.