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Aussie babies eating healthier than those in UK and Canada

Australian children are getting a better nutritional start to life than their counterparts from the UK and Canada, new research has shown.

The study from the University of Sydney examined 309 products from 17 manufacturers. Results show Australian baby and toddler food is healthier, as it has lower levels of sodium and sugar than similar products in the United Kingdom and Canada. The findings, published in the Maternal and Child Health Journal, show only 6 per cent of the products from Australia were high in saturated fat, just under a third of products were high in sugar, and salt was on the ingredients list for 17 Australian products.

Professor Victoria Flood, senior author at USYD and researcher in the study, said research into the nutritional quality of baby and toddler foods was limited.

“The nutritional quality of baby and toddler foods is increasingly important to consider,” Flood said. “Our youngest children need the best possible start when they are naturally moved onto solid foods and begin to develop their habits and tastes. Only two other regions, the UK and Canada, have published research on the healthiness of their baby and toddler food.”

This is despite baby food being a $300 million market in Australia that’s growing 4.8 per cent a year. Flood also said infants’ eating habits should be monitored.

“Commercial baby foods are consumed by as many as 90 per cent of children at 9 months old and 50 per cent at 18 months,” she said. “The impact of these foods on children cannot be overestimated and we encourage all parents to pay close attention to what they are putting into their supermarket trolleys.”

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