Study: 70 Percent of Infants Consume Too Much Salt

Seventy percent of 8 month-old babies consume too much salt due to being fed high amounts of processed foods, according to a new study.UK researchers found that the salt intake of most infants was double the recommended maximum level because many were consuming foods like yeast extract, gravy, baked beans and canned spaghetti.

Many were also given cows’ milk, which has higher levels of salt than breast or formula milk.  Doctors typically recommend that infants not be fed cows’ milk as a main source of nourishment until they are at least one year old.

Too much salt intake can damage developing kidneys, increase children’s preferences for salty foods and establish poor eating habits that continue into adulthood, setting them up for a lifetime of health problems.

The study results were based on a survey of nearly 1,200 participants in England.  Researchers found that the majority of infants were first introduced to solid foods around 3-4 months, and the mean salt intake in 8 month olds was up to double the recommended amount for that age group.

The infants who consumed the most salt typically also drank cows’ milk as their main drink and ate three times the amount of bread as infants who consumed the least amount of salt.  They also had diets high in processed foods, which are typically high in sodium.

‘These findings show that salt intakes need to be substantially reduced in children of this age group. Infants need foods specifically prepared for them without added salt, so it is important to adapt the family die,” said Dr .Pauline Emmett and Vicky Cribb, the nutritionists who conducted the research.

The study was published in European Journal of Clinical Nutrition.