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Toddler drinks contain unhealthy ingredients: Study

Wednesday February 21, 2018 7:46 PM, News Network

Toddler Drink

Asserting that toddler drinks contain unhealthy ingredients, public health researchers in a study published earlier this month advised the brands to label their products appropriately and with adequate warnings.

The researchers also said that toddlers actually do not need syrup-laden 'transition drinks' before switching from breast to milk, experts warn. In recent years, America has seen a boom in 'toddler drinks' - formulas of powdered milk, oil and syrup marketed for children between one and three years old, MailOnline reported Tuesday.

But public health researchers at New York University and the University of Connecticut warn parents do not need the drinks, which pediatricians do not recommend given their sugary content. The team implored brands to more clearly label their drinks to show that they are not FDA recommended, and they contain unhealthy ingredients.

"Toddler drinks are unnecessary and may undermine a nutritious diet, yet manufacturers have expanded their marketing of these products. Therefore, it is important for labels to be clear, transparent, and accurate. The FDA and manufacturers should work together to end the inappropriate labeling of toddler drinks and ensure caregivers have reliable information to nutritiously feed their children", lead author Jennifer L Pomeranz of NYU said.

Dr Pomeranz's study, published in the journal Preventive Medicine with Connecticut's Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity, analyzed how policies and regulations could clarify what toddler drinks are and why they aren't recommended. They found that there are two main types of toddler drinks. First, there are transition formulas for infants and toddlers aged nine months to two years old. Second, there are 'toddler milks' for children between one and three years old.

Most toddler drinks are primarily composed of powdered milk, corn syrup or other added sweeteners, and vegetable oil, and contain more sodium and less protein than cow's milk. All of them are marketed and labeled as beneficial for a child's nutrition and growth.

"Our study builds on previous research demonstrating that manufacturers' marketing practices may undermine the diets of very young children," said Dr Pomeranz, JD, MPH, assistant professor of public health policy and management at the college of Global Public Health.

In order to foster healthy toddler diets, the researchers recommend that the FDA provide guidance or propose regulations to ensure the appropriate labeling of toddler drinks. Those changes could include forcing brands to add a warning on the label telling parents to consult a doctor before using it. Brands should also make clear how the nutrition benefits of these 'toddler milks' differ from infant formula and normal milk, the researchers said.

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