Starting Them Off Wrong

To Your Health
January, 2020 (Vol. 14, Issue 01)

By Editorial Staff

Our children are consuming far too much sugar and they’re starting at an increasingly younger age. That’s a big problem because excess sugar, particularly if it doesn’t come from a natural, whole-food source such as fruit (although too much fruit sugar isn’t good for you, either) can contribute to the same health issues it causes in adults: weight gain, diabetes, cavities and more.

How bad is it? A recent study examined added sugar consumption among U.S. infants and toddlers (ages 6-23 months), using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Findings, which were published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, revealed that during the study window (2011-2016), 84.4 percent of infants and toddlers consumed added sugars on any given day. Yogurt, baby food snacks / treats and sweet bakery products topped the list for infants, while fruit drinks, sugars / sweets and sweet bakery products led the way for toddlers.

baby birthday - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark

Overall, toddlers were more likely to consume added sugars than infants, although the likelihood was high in both groups (98.3 percent of toddlers vs. 60.6 percent of infants). Average daily consumption of added sugars.

If you haven’t noticed, sources of added sugar are everywhere. That reality raises two important points: 1) The more you can teach children of any age to avoid added sugar, the better; and 2) If you don’t, they’ll be more likely to suffer the health consequences of living in a sugar-filled world. For American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) guidelines on sugar consumption for infants and young children, including ways to satisfy their sweet tooth without added sugar, click here.