Our Monday green news brings you the latest on nutrition, good causes and child education:
- Prepackaged toddler food is often high in sodium: According to a new study by researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently published in the journal Pediatrics, many prepackaged meals and snacks for toddlers contain high amounts of salt and sugar. About 7 out of 10 toddler dinners studied contained too much sodium, and most cereal bars, breakfast pastries and snacks for toddlers as well as infants contained extra sugars. The study researchers advise parents to read food labels carefully and opt for healthier choices or homemade foods and snacks. The researchers analyzed package information and labels for more than 1,000 foods marketed for infants and toddlers, they didn’t list brand names, but foods studied included popular brands of baby food, toddler dinners including packaged macaroni and cheese, mini hot dogs, rice cakes, crackers, dried fruit snacks and yogurt treats. The study also notes that almost 1 in 4 U.S. children ages 2 to 5 are overweight or obese, and that almost 80 percent of kids ages 1 to 3 exceed the recommended maximum level of daily salt, which is 1,500 milligrams. As the study’s lead author Mary Cogswell explained: “We also know that about one in nine children have blood pressure above the normal range for their age, and that sodium, excess sodium, is related to increased blood pressure. Blood pressure tracks from when children are young up through adolescence into when they’re adults. Eating foods which are high in sodium can set a child up for high blood pressure and later on for cardiovascular disease.”
- Many dietary supplements are not what they claim: The New York State attorney general’s office has recently accused four national retailers including Walmart, Walgreens, Target and GNC of selling dietary supplements that were fraudulent and in many cases contaminated with unlisted ingredients. The authorities said that tests were done on popular store brands of herbal supplements and the results indicate that about 4 out of 5 of their products contained none of the herbs listed on the product labels. They added, that in many cases the supplements actually contained nothing else than cheap fillers such as rice or house plants, or substances that could be hazardous to people with food allergies. For instance, the agency found that 5 out of 6 samples from the GNC’s signature Herbal Plus brand of supplements “were either unrecognizable or a substance other than what they claimed to be.” In pills labeled ginkgo biloba, the agency found only rice, asparagus and spruce, an ornamental plant commonly used for Christmas decorations.