Main sodium sources after birth

NHANES

Sodium intakes are high in the United States and this trend starts early in life.  New data from the highly-regarded National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES 2003-10) has now looked into which foods and drinks provide most sodium during the first two years of life.

Data was analysed from 778 infants aged 0-5.9 months, 914 infants aged 6 to 11.9 months and 1219 toddlers aged 12 to 23.9 months. It was found that sodium intakes were lowest in the youngest children but exposures increased gradually with age. With weaning (6 to 11.9 months) commercial baby foods, soups and pasta mixed dishes provided extra sodium.  In the oldest age group cheeses and sausages were some of the main sources of sodium.  Restaurant foods also provided 9 per cent of sodium.

Overall, this shows that most sodium comes from foods other than infant formula or human milk.  It also highlights the need to educate parents about how restaurant settings can increase children’s exposure to sodium.

For more information, see: Maalouf, J et al. (2015) American Journal of Clinical Nutrition Vol. 101 no. 5, pg 1021-102.

Pregnancy Iron & Childhood Wheeze

It is well known that low iron status in pregnancy can lead to anaemia in the mother and if uncorrected the child.  Now, a new study has looked at the role that iron has to play in relation to childhood wheeze.

Scientists used data from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC), study; a cohort of children born in the 90s.   Information about iron intake, status and child health from 157 mother-child pairs was analysed.

Higher serum Transferrin Receptor (TfR) levels (an indicator of reduced iron status) were linked to increased wheeze while higher ferritin levels were linked to improved lung function.

These are interesting findings, suggesting that pregnancy iron status possibly has broader roles to play in child health.  Further studies, ideally as randomised trials are now needed.

 For more information, see: Nwaru BI et al. (2014) British Journal of Nutrition Vol. 112 (12), pg 2018-27.