Almost One-Third of British Toddlers Eats Fast Food Weekly

April 29, 2009 05:30 PM
by Cara McDonough
Mom Leanne Salt says chicken nuggets are fine for her babies. Most would call this an outrageous diet, but children under three have more take-out meals than expected.

‘Happy To Admit Feeding Them Junk Food’

Leanne Salt’s own eating habits are far from a model of health. According to the Daily Mail, a British newspaper, the mother made history as the heaviest mother of triplets ever, weighing 40 stone (560 pounds). After the birth, she reportedly weighs in at 30 stone.

And yet she freely admits to giving her now eight-month-old babies junk food, including fast food from McDonald’s. “They were six months old when they had their first McDonald's,” she said to the newspaper. “They had chicken nuggets and chips and loved it.”
So far, the babies’ weights are normal for their age, but they consume about 1,249 calories a day, nearly double what they need for their age and size. Doctors, according to the Daily Mail story, say their diet is totally “unsuitable.”

Background: Survey finds infants, toddlers regularly eat fast food

Salt may be at the far end of the spectrum when it comes to nutrition. But she isn’t entirely alone in feeding her children take-out food, soda and other unhealthy items.

According to a survey done by British nonprofit the Infant and Toddler Forum, almost a third of children under three years of age eat take-out food once a week, and 20 percent of babies between 9 and 12 months old eat the same.

The survey also implied that many parents are confused about nutritional requirements for children, showing that more than 38 percent of mothers of babies less than one year old thought their children could have more salt than is recommended.

Related Topic: Keeping up with nutrition studies

Salt’s questionable lifestyle aside, when it comes to taking care of children, parents can be overburdened with information. Knowing what is best for a child, and even affording that, can be problematic.

A study released in February, for instance, found that vitamin supplements in children and teenagers who eat a “varied diet” are largely unnecessary, but that those children are the most likely to take them. On the other hand, children with poor nutrition, children who are less physically active and those from low-income homes may not be getting the vitamins and minerals they need, largely due to cost issues.

But the biggest obstacle parents may face when dealing with nutrition, and other questions, is the overwhelming amount of information available on every topic. Studies and recommendations change frequently on subjects as varied as autism and bath products, and can leave parents wondering which information to trust.

Reference: Solid food for babies


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