Native News Network Staff in Native Health. Discussion »
Babyhood Eating Patterns
WASHINGTON- American Indian and Alaska Native parents should be conscious of the daily intake of salt by their children. Salt is not only applied to food by salt shakers, but it is used in foods as a means to preserve food.
Approximately 75 percent of the salt we eat is added by manufacturers during food processing. This is important to understand because Americans eat more and more processed or purchased prepared foods each year.
A newly released study indicates eating patterns favoring salt may arise as early as babyhood. At the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia, Leslie Stein examined taste preferences of babies introduced to starchy table foods, which often have added salt.
Stein says the infants who got the starchy foods tended to like saltier water. And she says the salt preference lingered as they grew older:
"Kids who had been introduced to starchy table foods by 6 months of age had a greater liking for the taste of salt when they were in preschool".
Children develop a taste preference for salty foods very early if these foods are given to them on a regular basis. This could lead to a lifetime of eating too much salt. During childhood children can learn to enjoy the natural goodness of foods without adding salt or other ingredients with sodium.
Eating patterns that favor lots of salt are associated with high blood pressure and heart disease in adults.
The study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition was supported by the National Institutes of Health.
posted February 27, 2012 9:15 am est
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