New data from the American Society of Nutrition claims that American toddlers are consuming large amounts of sugar. In fact, these kids are eating more sugar than what’s recommended for healthy adults.
The study, conducted by the Center of Disease Control and Prevention, focused on added sugar consumption, which are the sugars that are added onto foods during preparation or processing. The research sampled more than 800 kids between the ages of 6 and 23 months old, with their parents’ participation in the study. These parents recorded everything that their children ate or drank during the day and then delivered that information to researchers, who calculated the kids’ mean sugar intake.
The results of the study were surprising, showing that sugar consumption increases with age and that it’s a problem for most of American families. On a daily basis, toddlers from 12 to 18 months old consumed 5.5 teaspoons of sugar, and toddlers from 19 to 23 months old consumed 7.1 teaspoons of sugar. If this doesn’t sound like a lot, then it helps to know that the recommended amount of sugar intake for adults is 6 teaspoons for women and 9 for men on a daily basis.
Quartz reports that consuming high amounts of sugar can affect us differently depending on our development and age. During pregnancy, sugar has been known to affect the cognition of the baby; on toddlers and children, it can depress their bodies’ immunity systems; in teens, it can lead to high blood pressure and obesity.
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Another disheartening statistic that joins this study is the fact that the younger you are when you start eating sugar, the harder it is to quit the habit, so it’s very important for parents to stay informed and to try to keep their kids from eating sugar for as long as they possibly can.